2023 Wages & Salaries Survey

Sometimes, being the owner or manager of a busy early childcare education centre can be overwhelming. Regulations and requirements are constantly changing, and you may sometimes feel as if you are falling behind. It is important to take advantage of the community that exists in ECE, and use all of the resources available to connect centres.

We recently sat down with Nicole Vairo, a Policy Advisor from the Early Childhood Council to discuss ECC’s annual Wages and Salaries Survey and the function it serves – both for the ECE sector as a whole, as well as for individual centres.

What makes this survey different from other workforce surveys?

There are a few key characteristics of the survey that make it special in the context of everything else that is out there.

  • The survey collects wage and salary information for all employees. The data collections performed by MOE only consider the rates for certificated teachers. However we know that the unfunded staff that centres employ are integral to both how the centre operates and how wage costs are structured. There are no real guidelines outside of national requirements for paying these staff – so ensuring centres approaches to setting these rates are aligned is really important!
  • This is an independent review. There is no involvement from MOE or other sector groups. ECC is an independent membership based organisation and have no ulterior motive or hidden agenda. We have a large network of contacts across the sector and utilising these we have historically managed to get a high response rate – from members and non-members.
  • We provide a free copy of the summary data to anyone who participates in the survey. Due to resourcing, we have to charge a fee for the full report, but have worked to make it as affordable as possible. Anyone who participates in the survey gets all of the benchmarking data delivered to them for free. We want to focus on transparency and increasing your access to quality data and analysis.

The Purpose of the Survey

In any industry, it is important to be collecting salary information and demographic data. The data collected in this survey will:

  1. Help ensure fair and equitable compensation for staff, increasing staff retention and attraction, and recognizing their invaluable contributions and work
  2. Allow for managers to engage in data-driven decision making by using benchmarking data to align salaries appropriately
  3. Empower stakeholders (like ECC) to use the data collected to advocate for better funding and support for ECE

The survey brings together staff and centre information, creating a full picture of early childhood education centres in New Zealand, who is working there, and how they are operating. Painting realistic pictures of the current state of the sector allows for government to make evidence-based decisions and policies, with the goal of developing more effective strategies to address workforce challenges.

Holding an annual survey also allows us to use and provide the most up to date data possible, and to track how government policies are effecting the sector over time.

How the Data is Used

ECC uses the data to inform our own work. The survey is completely anonymous and does not identify private information for any children or staff at the service. ECC only uses the data to better understand how ECE staff are being paid.

Post-2021 with the implementation of Pay Parity, Extended Pay Parity and now Full Parity later this year– the data also provides invaluable insights into the effects of these policies year to year. We can construct the effects of the policies on centres of various license sizes and staffing arrangements. As a representative of the sector, we can then feedback to the government and advocate for any changes we may view as beneficial or necessary to the sector. This applies to any funding related policies that the government may enact in coming years as well.

Learnings from 2022

The 2022 Survey is a prime example of the impact the data collected from the survey can have. The 2022 Survey was the largest collection of any wages and salaries survey ECC had run and had over 500 responses. Through a rigorous analysis of the data, several concerns were highlighted, concerns that we had heard anecdotally but had prior not held any evidence on.

From the 2022 survey we learned:

  • More experienced teachers are most highly concentrated in small centres (i.e. those with license sizes of <40)
  • With the implementation of extended pay parity, wages were set to increase on average by 14% for those centres who chose to opt-in
  • Centres were overwhelmingly concerned about their financial viability, and found the pay parity and extended pay parity funding totally unsuitable to cover this increase

With these key takeaways, ECC focused a huge proportion of our resources on Pay Parity – writing to the Minister, hosting webinars for centres, parents and teachers, and suing the government for the consequences the Pay Parity Policy has had on centres.

Although difficult to determine the impact we have had – the funding rates were increased, the government performed a funding system review, and a huge new investment of $1.8 billion dollars over four years was promised to ECE in Budget 2023. We’d like to think that the work we have done, and the pressure we have placed on government has had something to do with that.

And none of this would be possible without the data we collected!

Why is this year’s survey particularly important?

There have been significant changes made to ECE policy since the 2022 survey (closed in October 2022). With all of these changes, and the precarious state of the sector it is incredibly important we continue to increase our sample in 2023! The more data collected, the more robust our understanding is, and the more informed recommendations we can make.

ECC, as an organisation, has increased our capacity for data analysis and advocacy and, with the unprecedented success of the 2022 survey is excited to produce a report that is even better than last years. In order for that to happen we need even more centres to participate.

How to participate

1Place has developed the survey again this year. You can find the survey here. The survey will take ~30 minutes, depending on the number of staff you have. You must have your staffing information in front of you to complete the survey. If you are a large organisation please reach out to ECC directly for a spreadsheet option for your staff information.

Unfortunately, you cannot save the survey and come back – it must be completed in one sitting. If you have any questions or queries contact Nicole at nicole.vairo@ecc.org.nz

Put all your business data in 1Place

Our guide covers how to set up a dashboard with the information that is important to you. Peace of mind for your childcare operations