While staffing has long been a challenge in the childcare industry, the pandemic has left many childcare centers more financially tighter than ever, making it especially difficult to attract talent and continue to serve families . Staffing across the industry is down 12.4 percent from pre-pandemic levels, according to a Recent reports from Wells FargoAnd childcare centers are struggling to court and retain workers who can often find more lucrative opportunities amid a hot labor market.
Yet another obstacle facing many childcare centers is how to market their jobs beyond just verbal and informal networks. with the launch of new market For childcare jobs, startups Winnie Trying to bridge that gap by connecting potential hires to open positions in childcare centres.
“They’re really facing an unprecedented staffing crisis, which has caused a lot of daycares and preschools we work with to close classes and have the ability to take in fewer kids because there’s a really strict ratio in childcare.” needs,” says Sarah Mauskoff, cofounder and CEO of Winnie. “We looked at: ‘Is this an area in which we are well positioned to help?’ And it makes a lot of sense because we have this really large audience of both parents and childcare providers – the perfect audience to actually advertise these positions.”
For Winnie – which already boasts a directory of more than 250,000 licensed daycares and preschools and helps millions of parents source childcare – it helps daycare centers to adopt higher wages and benefits. There is an opportunity to improve the quality of childcare jobs by encouraging One way to secure those higher salaries is to ensure that childcare centers can fill the gaps quickly. “We’re helping these childcare businesses run more profitably so they have the money to pay their teachers,” Mauskoff says. “One big way they can pay better without raising prices on parents is by simply running a more efficient program. We don’t want people to leave vacant positions for months when they’re out of their schedules.” Quit, as it reduces their profit margin.
in a low-margin industry and limited federal fundingRaising wages is no small feat, especially when the average hourly wage is hovering about $13, Still, Mauskoff hopes that a job board dedicated to childcare positions will foster healthy competition and increase retention by providing greater visibility into wages across different employers. Mauskoff also points out that many childcare employers already offer attractive benefits for their employees who are looking for childcare, from subsidizing tuition to offering a guaranteed location at their center. “If there isn’t a great way to see that maybe a childcare center down the road is offering a better position, you can leave the field entirely,” she says. “We want people to stay in the field and only work for an employer that can provide them with higher wages and better benefits.”
For now, the new marketplace will only be open to a select group of childcare centers who have opted in Winnie Pro, a subscription service for providers who want help growing their business. “These are already businesses that are focused on growth and running more efficiently,” Mauskoff says. “We want to make sure we help providers highlight the benefits and make these positions engaging and interesting—and also help them understand other positions in their field so they can be competitive with other employers. ” But eventually, she hopes to expand the reach of Winnie’s platform to other childcare providers.
“Ultimately we are in this business to help more families access childcare,” she says. “Right now there is a huge shortage of childcare which is directly related to staffing. We really want it to be a fundamental human right in this country, that you have access to quality, early care and education. And it’s a long way from that right now.”