Excerpted from the introduction
This survey was carried out during 2019 by SIPTU Big Start Campaign to gather information on the attitudes of those employed in the early years sector in relation to their work and involvement in early years settings and changes they thought could be made to improve the sector. We invited a wide variety of those working in the sector to reply and there was 3,200 responses.
Using the responses, we were able to generate a rich picture of the attitudes, experiences and expectations of those working in the early years sector. We found mixed results – workers reported that they were very passionate about the sector and particularly enjoyed working with children. However, despite their dedication and enthusiasm, they stated that several factors made their future in the sector uncertain. Some indicated that they were actively looking for another job, and many stated that if they didn’t see improvements, they would leave the sector within 5 years.
Workers listed undesirable and stressful working conditions, low pay and lack of recognition and respect by society as major barriers to them staying in the sector. They also indicated preferences for positive changes to their working conditions and for the sector. This survey’s results show that changes need to be brought about to improve the quality of working conditions for employees. What is at stake is the wellbeing and financial security of employees and the welfare of the children in their care.