EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS IN SHORT SUPPLY - IS IT PAY? WORKING CONDITIONS? INCREASING SHIFT WORK? LONG HOURS? THE LURE OF BETTER PAY IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM?
Ontario, Canada. April, 2012 - Low pay, difficult working conditions and the lure of a better-paying job with benefits in the school system are contributing to a shortage of early childhood educators.
However, no one seems to know how much of a shortage, Eduarda Sousa, executive director of the Association of Early Childhood Education Ontario said. Past study figures are dated, so the shortage information is all anecdotal, she said.
“It’s been a well-known fact for years that the wages and working conditions have deterred people from going into the profession.” Many start at minimum wage ($10.25 an hour), but starting wage in schools is about $19 to $24 an hour with benefits, Sousa said.
Outside of school jobs, long hours, increasing shift work, and working in church or hall basements all create poor working conditions, she added. To better define and address the problem in Hamilton, the city is launching an online survey for its 1,700 educators in city centres, and other childcare workers. The aim of the survey is to learn why early childhood educators are leaving centres and how to retain them.
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