Major ECE wage and salary survey shows experienced teachers are getting squeezed out

13 March 2023

A comprehensive early learning wages and salaries survey shows Pay Parity’s negative impact on teachers and providers by making experienced teachers increasingly unaffordable.

“This data shows that hiring the most experienced teachers simply isn’t viable. Does the government really want Pay Parity to go down as a policy that incentivises centres to hire less experienced teachers? Our most experienced teachers either miss out or go to work feeling guilty their centre can’t afford them – and they’re still paid less than kindergarten teachers. Pay Parity is a policy failure, and it’s failing experienced teachers most of all,” said Early Childhood Council CEO Simon Laube.

Pay Parity is the government’s initiative to close the pay gap between teachers in early learning and care centres and their colleagues in kindergartens, who have the same qualifications and experience, but are paid more.

The data resoundingly shows experienced teachers are employed in smaller centres. For example, centres with about 30 children have about 45% of their teachers at very high levels of experience at survey time.

Worryingly, this imbalance means smaller centres are likely to have salary costs well in excess of the government funding being provided, risking a major financial shock as they struggle to pay their wages. The problems are different in larger centres, where it’s more common to have teachers on pay steps 1-3, yet they face clear challenges retaining their teachers.

“Sadly, our report has confirmed our suspicions about the consequences of Pay Parity, with our most experienced teachers struggling to find a role, or finding their existing role is at risk due to the possibility of their employer failing. This is especially likely if it’s a small or community based provider with low or no revenue from parent fees,” said Simon Laube.

“All this is happening during a prolonged teacher shortage - surveyed providers’ top concerns were recruiting new teachers, increasing fees for parents and retaining existing teachers.”

“Pay Parity has been a wolf in sheep’s clothing – exploiting the trust and confidence of providers and teachers, who’ve opted-in to Pay Parity thinking the government wanted them to succeed only to find it simply unsustainable.”

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