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Understanding and addressing workforce shortages in the ECEC sector: Recruitment and retention challenges and strategies

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The Centre for Spatial Economics (C4SE)
Publication Date: 
1 Sep 2009

Excerpt from the executive summary

The Recruitment and retention challenges and strategies report is the fourth in a series of reports produced as part of the CCHRSC’s Understanding and addressing workforce shortages in ECEC project. The report finds that reducing the high turnover rates of trained early childhood educators (ECEs) is the key to developing effective strategies to address workforce shortages in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector.

The research and analysis from the Shortages Project demonstrates that retention —not recruitment—is the predominant problem in the sector’s ability to recruit and retain qualified staff. This is because recruitment challenges are primarily caused by staff turnover, with close to nine out of ten new recruits being required to replace existing staff. As a result, employers must constantly search for new recruits in order to maintain services, let alone expand service delivery. Stemming the outflow of trained staff will help reduce the time spent on recruiting new employees, improve the quality of services, and improve the working conditions of those who remain.

Excerpt from the report's introduction

Recruitment and retention is a long-standing and well-documented challenge facing the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector. An accurate understanding of workforce shortages—the number of ECEC workers needed across Canada—and the implications of these shortages is critical in order to address this challenge. To achieve this, the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council (CCHRSC) developed the Understanding and addressing workforce shortages in ECEC project. Funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, the project focused on:

  • Defining current workforce shortages by exploring the factors that influence supply and demand of ECEC workers;
  • Reporting on available data and data deficiencies;
  • Documenting the impact of current shortages on the sector, labour market engagement, and on the economy;
  • Identifying current strategies and other options for addressing ECEC worker shortages; and
  • Exploring the feasibility of developing a forecasting model to predict future shortages.

The CCHRSC engaged the Centre for Spatial Economics (C4SE), a consulting organization created to improve the quality of spatial economic and demographic research in Canada, to conduct the project research and create reports designed to meet the project objectives.