European Commission report on staff shortages in the Early Childhood Education sector


The European Commission’s ‘Working Group on Early Childhood Education and Care’, which is composed of representatives of ministries, social partners, including ETUCE, and stakeholders recently published a policy brief on staff shortages in the Early Childhood Education sector.

The report mirrors the discussions of education trade unions in the joint event of ETUCE and the Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators (BUPL) on Attracting and Retaining Early Childhood Education Staff.

The policy brief of the European Commission’s Working Group reveals shocking numbers of lacking workforce in the sector:

  • Austria would need an additional 9900 early childhood education teachers to improve quality education and care in the sector;
  • Croatia faces a shortage of 5850 early childhood education teachers;
  • Finland lacks 6000 early childhood education teachers;
  • In France, 10000 crèches professionals are currently missing;
  • In Germany, there is an estimated lack of up to 72500 skilled early childhood education teachers and staff;
  • In Ireland, more than half of early childhood education institutions reported recruitment challenges over the previous 12 months.

The policy brief mentions other countries and the challenges they face, and the importance of tackling staff shortages to improve the ECE sector.

The text also underlines the reasons of shortage of professionals in the sector, including low salaries; bad working conditions; health-related challenges; limited career opportunities and limited training and opportunities for continuing professional development; (perceived) lack of status and unattractiveness of the profession; unregulating of the profession and hiring untrained staff, leading to poorer quality of provision or extra workload; high staff turnover; ageing of staff.