Online vacancies in ECEC remain near their highest levels, annual growth rates remain stagnant

The number of online vacancies for early childhood education and care (ECEC) remained well above historic levels in March 2024, but according to the latest data from Jobs and Skills Australia, growth rates have stalled year on year.

The Internet vacancy indexwhich reports new vacancies for all types of work in Australia every month, is a useful indicator of the level of vacancies at approved providers at any given time and provides an indication of the level of shortages they may be experiencing.

About 4,450 teacher jobs were listed in March 2024, a similar level to last year but almost double the number recorded five years ago. Regarding Early Childhood Teachers (ECT), March totals were also high with 2,283 mentions, compared to just 692 in 2018.

teacher and ect lists March 24

The notable declines from peak levels in October and November 2023 reflect seasonal effects on employment in the ECEC sector, as preschoolers and preschoolers return to school and overall enrollments fall.

That said, after three consecutive years of strong year-on-year growth, which has kept overall numbers around where they are today, a slowdown in growth rates appears to be on the way.

This is most evident in the center manager and ECT categories, where the number of vacancies in March 2024 both fell compared to last year, with the former falling by 5 percent and the latter by 3 percent, the first such decline in vacancies since before . COVID-19.

Annual change in ECEC online vacancies

The teacher category saw an increase of 1 percent, which was lower than last year’s 6 percent and substantially lower than the 60 percent and 68 percent growth in 2021 and 2022.

Could this be an early indication that the workforce crisis is starting to ease? That recognized providers can fill vacancies more easily and therefore have less need to post vacancies online? That roles are becoming easier to fill?

Unfortunately not.

Listings remain near historic highs, supported by strong demand for care, fueled by substantial government subsidies to support families and continued growth in new centers.

Furthermore, as we approach the end of the financial year, the many teachers currently in subclasses 482, 494, 186 and 187 but will not meet the new Temporary Income Threshold for Skilled Migration (TSMIT) of $70,000 will face very difficult decisions as they no longer qualify for a visa.

While the workforce crisis in child care education has reached its peak for now, there are still plenty of headwinds that require coordinated, thoughtful policymaking to address them.