Green shoots of recruitment recovery as nursery vacancies drop

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The number of nursery vacancies has dropped while the number of staff qualified to Level 3 has increased, according to early years data company Ceeda.

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In signs that may indicate the green shoots of a staffing recovery, one in three settings is now recruiting compared with nearly one in two last year, when 45 per cent of settings were recruiting for 24,600 posts, according to the latest ‘About Early Years’ bulletin.

Now, one in three settings are looking to fill 14,300 positions, a 42 per cent decrease on empty posts.

The proportion of staff qualified to level three or above has also increased from 71 per cent in 2017 to 76 per cent in 2018. Ceeda estimates remain below DfE estimates of 81 per cent.

However, there are significant skills gaps in the sector’s workforce and recruitment is still very tough.  

More than one in two settings report skills gaps in their existing workforce (55 per cent), compared to 13 per cent of employers across the wider economy.  An estimated 35,600 early years staff (11 per cent) have skills gaps, compared to 4 per cent across all sectors.

And whilst fewer settings are recruiting, 77 per cent still say vacancies are hard to fill, compared to 84 per cent in 2017. One in every four childcare providers have hard to fill vacancies (24 per cent), treble the figure for all employers (8 per cent).

The news comes after a huge drop in Level 3 staff numbers following the introduction of a GCSE requirement, first revealed by Nursery World.

This was calculated by Ceeda to have caused a 41 per cent drop between July-September 2012 and the same period in 2016 in certifications of Level 3 childcare qualifications.

Full analysis showing a detailed picture of sector skills needs, recruitment difficulties and training and development activity will be released on 21 January, with exclusive coverage in Nursery World.

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