QUESTION 5: HOW DOES STAFF PAY COMPARE BETWEEN KINDERGARTEN AND NON-KINDERGARTEN SERVICES? AND, ARE PAY LEVELS RELATED TO STAFF LEAVING?
As shown in the graph below, kindergarten staff were paid an average of $6.49 more an hour than staff in other ECE services (Kindergarten - an average of $32.89 an hour, staff in all other services – an average of $26.40 an hour).
Earning power was found to be related to staff decisions concerning staying or leaving their job and/or the sector. Asked if they were looking to leave their job or if they were staying, 77% of kindergarten staff said they were staying in their job, 15% said they were looking to switch jobs in ECE, and 8% said they were going to exit the ECE sector. But just 60% of staff in other services said they were staying. Nineteen percent said they were looking to switch jobs in ECE, and a much higher percentage compared to kindergarten wanted to exit the early childhood profession and sector (21%).
The higher average hourly pay rate of staff in kindergarten compared to other ECE services may, at least in part, be due to government provision of a salary component in the funding of centres under the control of kindergarten associations for kindergarten teacher pay parity with school teachers (for more on this see the information in the Appendix to this report). The government does not provide this additional funding for salaries to ECE services outside of kindergarten associations and neither does it require non-kindergarten services to match the pay of kindergarten and school teachers for their staff. This may put non-kindergarten services at a disadvantage in limiting staff loss because, clearly, higher pay is associated with fewer teaching staff looking to leave.