Last reviewed 7 October 2019

A new report on global workforce trends in early childhood education and care (ECEC) has been launched by Christie & Co.

The report, Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce Trends and Associated Factors, explores key workforce trends and associated dynamics relating to the ECEC sector in the UK in comparison to various established and emerging markets.

Over the past 12 months, Christie & Co visited ECEC settings across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, China, Hong Kong and Japan, and surveyed providers of more than 200,000 childcare places across the world.

The study looks at a range of issues including demand for childcare, international approaches to subsidising the cost of early education and childcare, levels of qualifications in the workforce, child to staff ratios and parental leave and employment.

Key findings from the survey with childcare providers include the following.

  • The proportion of UK staff with a formal teaching or degree-level qualification in the UK is lowest after Canada.

  • There is considerable competition for prospective trainee nursery practitioners from retail and leisure industries in particular.

  • 67% of UK providers have difficulty finding good-quality staff and struggle with staff retention.

  • There is rising concern in the UK that without significant intervention, the workforce crisis could deepen, threatening the sustainability of the ECEC sector.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said:

“This international comparison of Early Childhood Care and Education is a really important insight into the sector in the UK but also how countries cater for the educational and care needs of young children around the world.”

“What stands out is how in the UK, providers are expected to do more with much less. We have one of the more generous offers in terms of funded hours available to parents but the per child spend by UK national governments is far lower than in Norway, Sweden or even France. This fact is challenging providers’ sustainability and sees additional costs fall on parents and families.”

“The survey with nursery operators showed a similar picture to our workforce research with a low proportion of staff as graduates or holding formal teaching qualifications. Unless governments are prepared to invest in early years, efforts to drive up quality will be limited by this lack of ambition.”

The full report is available here.