Staff data is captured annually through the Early Years Sector Profile, administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department. In 2019/2020, 65% ELC and SAC services completed the sector profile. These services recorded 85% staff as working directly with children (extrapolated figure for all services is 26,294), with with the remaining 15% ancillary staff (extrapolated figure for all services is 4,589).
Turnover is calculated using four data types:
- number of staff working in the service
- number of staff who left in the past twelve months
- number of staff working in the facility who had worked there for less than twelve months
- number of staff vacancies at the time of completing the survey.
The national annual staff turnover rate for 2019-2020 was 18%. This is down five percentage points on last year’s figure of 23%. Data at a local authority level indicates the highest rate of turnover in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (38%), and the lowest in Roscommon (11%). The majority of services (64%) retained all their staff during the 12 months up to the completion of the survey. The proportion of services retaining all staff increased by 5 percentage points on the previous year. This indicates an overall a lower turnover than in previous years.
These figures should be interpreted in the context of COVID-19, during which time services were in receipt of substantial funding supports which may have contributed to these lower turnover rates for staff.
My Department is committed to policy development and reform to support the ELC and SAC workforce. This policy reform will be realised through increased investment as commitmented to in First 5, the whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families (2019-2028). A Workforce Development Plan will aim to raise the profile of careers in ELC and SAC, establish a career framework and leadership development opportunities and will work towards building a more gender-balanced and diverse workforce. It is expected that the final Workforce Development Plan will be published by the end of 2021.
The development of a new funding model is also underway. Led by an Expert Group, the draft Guiding Principles refer to the recruitment and retention of staff with the necessary qualifications; ongoing staff training and development; fair pay and working conditions; and a workforce which feels valued and is motivated to deliver the best possible service to children. It is expected that a report on the Expert Group’s recommendations on the new Funding Model will be submitted in November 2021.