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Early Years Recruitment: The impact of the pandemic on nurseries

The recruitment discussion is one of the hot topics in the sector at the moment. And not for good reasons unfortunately. Nurseries the length and breadth of the UK are struggling to recruit staff. Not just good staff, but in many cases ANY staff. (Not that you want any who are not good of course, but it is worth highlighting that many nurseries are not getting any applications at all for some roles!)

Finding qualified staff has been an issue since pre covid times but the lockdowns and issues around covid have certainly exacerbated the problem. Government funding not increasing in line with high running costs is one element – this has a huge knock on effect on wages that settings can offer which in turn means fewer candidates would like to apply. 

Covid itself has also had a more direct impact as those who worry about catching covid – either because they are vulnerable themselves or perhaps they care for elderly of vulnerable relatives – are less likely to put themselves in harms way by working in a career which brings them close to possible infection due to close working with people. A similar impact has been felt across the hospitality industry. 

Another accidental impact of lockdowns has been that more and more jobs are now available with remote working. This makes low paid admin jobs more attractive especially for those who want a job which works around their own childcare i.e. working parents. An increase in online learning options also makes qualifying for other professions easier and more flexible than childcare professions. 

Lockdowns and changes to nurseries who are having to shut down partially or completely have likely also worried anyone who is looking for stable long term employment guarantees. Some of those who want to work in childcare may be looking towards school-based jobs instead of private settings where some stability is more reliable. 

There is no easy solution sadly as so many factors are impacting this situation. The “what do we do?” question has been consistent in childcare circles but no full answer is yet forthcoming despite people asking those in government for support and advice. This is likely not even a question for just one government department to answer. 

Within eyworks we have been working on as many functions and tools as we can think of to help. Our eyrecruit product focuses on making recruitment as streamlined as possible – from posting jobs to multiple job boards through to making a consistent bespoke recruitment process for your setting. 

Alongside this, we encourage settings to use eymanage to keep a close eye on room availability, with eyenquiries helping to show children who are coming through the pipeline. This way they can schedule accordingly to help keep costs as low as possible, by recruiting according to upcoming need. Smart scheduling of staff based on children’s age and schedules can also ensure every staff hour is maximised.

eymanage also helps with ensuring invoicing runs smoothly so that you can keep an eye on current and forecasted income and automated debt collection can assist in making sure parents pay promptly.

We cannot find staff for you, sadly, but we know that the tools we have created will help to make your admin time streamlined and cost effective, which leaves both you and your staff freer to spend time in the nursery with the children instead of sitting in an office getting a headache over the paperwork!

We will continue to listen to our customers to find out what else you need to support your recruitment concerns so do let us know any ideas you have on things we can add to future product plans!

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