SEEK Employment Trends: industry spotlight on education and training
Changes to Australia’s education and training industry in 2016 had a flow-on effect to the employment market. Experts say the increase of teacher-student ratios for the early childhood sector means talent is in hot demand. This is reflected in the latest data from SEEK Employment Trends, which shows year-on-year job ad growth in childhood education and a range of other sectors across the industry.
SEEK job ads for education and training grew by 4% year-on-year in December and the average advertised salary was $74,267. Areas such as early childhood teaching and childcare also experienced growth, which experts attribute to new guidelines introduced under the National Quality Framework in January last year. Extra teachers are now required for each classroom in order to boost the quality of early childhood learning across the majority of states and territories.
“There is a shortage of candidates at the early childhood teacher level and this goes back to the recent changes in regulations,” explains Alex Jones, Regional Director for Education at recruitment firm Hays. “Even without these changes, demand is still high. Both parents in a family are often working, so there’s an ever-increasing need for childcare centres and candidates to fill the roles. Centres would have been ramping up their hiring in December for the new intake of kids early in the year.”
Employers may need to work harder to attract the best talent, says Jones, and this may include a review of salary levels. “In this market, where we have a shortage in candidates for childcare and after-school care, attracting talent often comes down to what you’re paying,” he explains. “The industry offers an award rate but, from what we’ve seen, employers are often paying higher than the award to attract the best.”
Growth in childcare
SEEK data from December shows job ads for childcare and outside school hours care increased by 15% compared to the same time last year.
Sharon Ruddleston, Marketing Director at Think Childcare, which heads a mixed portfolio of owned and managed centers across Australia, says the industry is growing rapidly. “In January alone, we employed more than 110 people,” she says. “We currently have about 1,200 people working with us and it’s increasing all the time.”
When it comes to recruitment, Ruddleston explains Think Childcare looks for candidates with a focus on their career. “We want people who are dedicated to their career and who are extremely passionate about being part of a team,” she says. “We don’t want people who have just fallen into the industry for the time being because we invest in our people through training. This enables them to be at the cutting edge of the industry so they can bring the best of childcare to our communities.”
Ruddleston adds that career progression is another important offering. “It shows that you’re invested in their future,” she explains. “Training and career progression is a focus at Think Childcare. We have area managers, an operations manager and even our directors who started out in our childcare rooms as an educator. Through training and career development, they were able to work their way through the organisation.”
Growth in workplace training
Workplace training and assessment was another area of job ad growth for December, with SEEK ads up by 17% year-on-year. “That area of our business has certainly been busy and we’re seeing a lot of in-house workplace training roles,” says Jones. “Training is still quite high on the agenda for many organisations at the moment, which is good news for candidates across most industries.”
Jo ads for early childhood teaching roles were also up by 12% year-on-year and adult education was on the rise. Tertiary teaching roles grew by 11% compared to the same time last year and vocational teaching increased by 2% over the same period.
Primary and secondary teaching trends
While the broader education and training industry experienced year-on-year growth in December, some areas of the industry saw a decline. Vocational management roles were down by 24% year-on-year while university management roles declined by 30%. Jones attributes this to a trend toward recruiting management roles from within.
SEEK data shows job ads for primary school teaching were also down by 6% and secondary school teaching roles slipped by 13%. Jones explains the decline may be due to more people staying in their current roles for longer. “People are tending to stay in jobs at the moment, particularly in the government sector,” he explains.
Ruddleston says recruitment will continue to be a focus for Think Childcare throughout 2017 as the demand for childcare placements is projected to remain strong. “At the core of our culture is insuring that we’ve got a happy team, that we’ve got a healthy culture and that our team is feeling completely supported,” she explains. “We’re very transparent that we need to work hard and it’s not easy work, especially for our educators at the front line. They’re empowered and they know they are vital to the vision of the company.”