The US economy is being held back because of massive labor shortages—but it’s getting even worse due to the scarcity of child care workers. Wells Fargo economists state that the job losses in the child care sector are endangering multiple industries and negatively affecting the entire US economy. The employment rate of the daycare industry remains 12.4% below its pre-pandemic levels, and this forced half a million families to choose between pursuing their careers and looking after their children.
Child care workers play a vital role in the country, and it’s time that we recognize their economic impact.
The Economic Role of Child Care Workers
Child care workers often seek greener pastures due to the low compensation for their tough workloads. These professionals typically earn $12 an hour and get few benefits, despite handling several children each day. As such, many workers leave for seasonal work and competitive service jobs, where they can earn more money than they would typically make in child care centers.
This is alarming, given that child care has a big impact on US society. The child care industry establishes the foundation for children’s health and economic outcomes, while allowing parents to pursue financial and professional opportunities. Early educators also help in stabilizing businesses by increasing labor force participation and boosting the productive capacity of working parents. As such, the shortage of child care workers can cause a domino effect on the work capacity of parents and the economic status of the country.
How to Address the Child Care Worker Shortage
Streamline staff workflows
Child care workers are leaving in droves due to their heavy workloads. You can put a stop to this and retain the rest of the workforce by leveraging a child care management program. These software programs can soften the blow of staff shortages by managing the registration, tracking the enrollment process, and scheduling the classes of the kids. This frees up the current staff from administrative duties, and allows them to focus on child engagement and classes instead. Child care workers can also receive an increase in compensation because this software solution can lower operational costs. Offer proper recognition and reward
Child care is tough work, which is why employees need to be recognized and rewarded for a job well done. A proper recognition and reward system can give employees a fair return for their hard work, a boost in motivation, and helps to provide clear goals that they need to achieve in the workplace. So, you need to reward top performers with perks aligned with their specific needs or wants, such as cash bonuses, lessened supervision, flexible schedules, or additional time off. These signs of appreciation can improve their personal lives while also encouraging them to continue their service.
Advocate for federal assistance for child care
Child care workers are among the least paid workers in the country. Unfortunately, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) revealed that the wage increases of early educators could take a massive toll on American parents who are already cost-burdened by child care services. The child care workforce impacts other industries and the economy, so the experts behind the CSCCE emphasize the importance of federally funded child care programs. By increasing public funding for early education, the US can increase its labor force participation and boost the economy. A thriving child care industry can put the US economy back on its feet. Thus, it’s important that the country starts investing more in the child care industry and its workforce.
Written exclusively for Childcareseer.com
by Alessandria Chaser