Calling for Increased Investment in the Early Years Workforce

The National Childhood Network and Crann Support Group commissioned the renowned Human Resources Consultancy, Mercer to produce a report to highlight national salary scales for the early years workforce. The report was presented by Brian Duncan of Mercer together with our CEO and Chairperson and the CEO of the Crann Support Group to a cross-party representation in Leinster House recently.

A press statement was released yesterday which you can read below: Calling for increased investment in the early year’s workforce. Mercer payscale report highlights low pay in the sector. The need for increased government investment, supported by a Sectoral Employment Order to secure appropriate national salary scales for the early years workforce, was highlighted to a cross-party meeting of politicians in Leinster House recently in a new report prepared and presented by Brian Duncan of Mercer, the global human resources consultancy firm.

Commissioned by quality support groups – National Childhood Network and the Crann Support Group- the report highlighted Mercer’s recommended salary scales for staff employed in centre based services following their evaluation of various staff roles. The pay scale report, which compared the roles and responsibilities of early year’s staff to similar professions, highlighted the extent of low pay within the sector.

According to a recent report by Early Childhood Ireland, the current average rate of pay for an early year’s educator is €11.12 per hour. The Mercer report recommends that early years educators should have a starting rate of €13.31 per hour, with the top of the pay scale at €21.70 per hour.

Crann Support Group CEO, Marie Daly stated “the government and media focus on the affordability of services for parents does not address the increasing challenges faced by providers and staff delivering services, especially those involved in the delivery of full day care provision and striving to deliver to a high-quality standard. These challenges are so great that many services are struggling to survive”. She added, “Low pay has resulted in a staffing crisis where almost 30% of early year’s educators have left their job. This is undermining our ability to deliver high-quality services to meet the needs of children and families today”.

National Childhood Network CEO, Denise Mc Cormilla stated “Significant investment has been made by Government to progress the development of services, but we have not seen sufficient investment in staff pay and conditions that secure and sustain the delivery of high-quality services for all children. Research by the Noble prize–winning economist Professor James Heckman provides the most convincing evidence for governments and taxpayers that shows investment in high-quality services for young children provide the best return on investment”

The government needs to intervene and invest further in the early year’s workforce in order to secure the services children and families need. High-quality services progress many Government policy agendas that range from promoting children’s health, well-being and education, supporting families, combating poverty to creating and facilitating access to employment. For the sake of Ireland’s economic and social development, increased investment in those who work with children needs to improve.

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