The Booming Childcare Industry in Australia
Working in Child Care can be an extremely rewarding experience. If you have thought about joining the Child Care Industry, here’s the lowdown on why the Child Care Industry in Australia is growing and why you should get on board!
Child Care – A Solid Industry
In recent years, Australia has experienced a surge in demand for formal Child Care. Child Care services initially emerged with the onset of the baby boomer generation, people born between the years 1946 and 1964. Since then the birth rate has continued to rise steadily. Labour force participation rates have also strongly impacted demand for childcare services.
The main driver is the encouragement of women to go back to work after giving birth. This has presented long-term opportunity as more families use Child Care services—catching the eye, and interest, of corporate companies. The demise of ABC Development Learning Centres in 2008 also contributed to this new interest. The collapse brought in a new set of market participants and consolidated a fragmented sector.
As a result, Child Care services became an appealing venture for investors. Additionally, we have also seen a change in Australia’s workforce. Gone are the days of the nine to five workday. Instead, an increasing number of parents are employed outside of standard hours and seek flexible care options. This has meant that many corporate educators now provide care late at night, early in the morning, overnight and on weekends. Approximately half of all childcare services are provided by for-profit businesses, with most demand in long day care.
In 2010, there were about 5900 long day care centres nationally, but now there are well over 6800. Making long-term childcare an important part of Australia’s childcare industry. The figures in before and after-school care, and short term day care, have also risen.
Consequently, there has been huge growth to catch up with the demand, including increased educator-to-child ratios. Family day care now provides 104,130 families with quality, flexible and affordable early childhood education and care. According to IBIS World, the sector is set to increase by a massive 34.8% – from 9billion in 2014-2015 to 12billion in 2019-2020.
Supported by Government
As the costs of these services increase, so too has government support. The Government’s financial support, together with a continued effort in boosting national productivity, have been key catalysts for the industry’s recent makeover. The Federal Government first introduced subsidy payments for childcare in the early 1970s. Now, 40 years on, the government’s continued financial support has transformed this sector. Today, over 1.2 million children attend approximately 17,000 government approved childcare services nationwide.
Those numbers have grown substantially over the last 5 years, with a 4.6% annual growth rate. Since the 2003/04 financial year, the government has contributed nearly $40 billion in subsidy funding.
This incentive is intended to encourage parents, in particular women, to return to the workforce after a child is born. Additionally, with the Child Care Rebate and Child Care Benefit more families have access to Child Care, further increasing demand. Prior to these government subsidies, informal care—family and friends—was heavily relied on.
Child Care – Rewarding Career
There are many aspects of Child Care that bring job satisfaction. For a start, children look up to those who provide their care on a daily basis. Therefore, a Child Care Educator has the opportunity to impact children for the rest of their lives. Building relationships with them also helps them feel secure, so they can learn freely and in their preferred learning style.
Work days for carers are filled with reading, drawing, painting and games, important elements of a child’s development. Through play, children learn positive lessons in sharing, communicating, and picking up after themselves.
Moreover, Child Care Educators have the opportunity to explore their own creativity, through coming up with ways to engage the children. Along with providing valuable life lessons, a Child Care Educator becomes a part of a child’s life. In some instances, they also get to see the children grow from babies to young people.
If lucky enough to experience this, the Carer will get to see the children develop their own interests and personalities. Watching the children become independent is incredibly satisfying. Studies in Australia and internationally demonstrate the significant benefits children experience from attending quality Child Care services. These benefits include better intellectual development and higher levels of concentration, sociability, and independence. Children who enjoy quality Child Care services are likely to be well socialised, confident, and inquisitive about the world. They are also more accepting of diversity, resilient to manage challenges and also to be life-long learners.
Secure for the Future
Child Care creates additional benefits for the community as a whole, securing the industry’s future. These benefits include better socialisation, transition to school, and improved performance in the early years of primary school. In light of this, the government developed the National Quality Framework (NQF). This was intended to place more emphasis on educational services within Child Care. To change the perception of them as just child minding centres, but rather as professional institutes.
Over the next 5 years’ birth rates are set to increase by 6.4% which will continue to drive demand in the Child Care sector. Further growth is a near certainty as the Australian Government focuses on providing affordable and accessible Child Care services.
Operating costs will likely experience some inflationary pressure due to imposed regulatory standards. However, this isn’t expected to impact the sector’s trajectory greatly. History and projections signify childcare will continue as a sector of sustained growth, largely supported by social trends.
Accordingly, industry consolidation will continue as acquisition and merger activity is expected to increase. There are currently over 1,000 planning applications for new privately operated long day care services in Australia.
That is an average service size of 90 places and 25 educators per service. This means over 25,000 new educators being trained before the end of 2018.
As accessibility to childcare remains within reach, the participation rate of women in the labour sector will continue to climb. Child Care Subsidy, which the government will seek to introduce from July 1, 2017 are going to further boost the industry. Revenue in the industry continues to grow strongly with increased government funding and other market forces. Best of all though, it is expected that this revenue will be passed on to staff in the form of pay rises.
Not only is working with children rewarding, but with the support of the government and industry growth, it is also a very solid career to undertake. So why not take the next step? Start your childcare career today by enrolling with MCIE today.