Babysitting agencies and the Find a Babysitter website suggest that the going rate for a babysitter in Sydney ranges from $25 to $40 per hour, depending on experience and qualifications. The asking price for casual evening babysitting is as high as $45 per hour.
Daniela Kavoukas, service manager at the Community Child Care Association, which represents the community and the non-profit sector, said educators “left in droves” and described the situation as a crisis.
“COVID was a moment when I think all of Australia and possibly the world has made a decision to go, ‘actually it might be time for a career switch,’ and so we saw people leave who haven’t come back,” she said. † “A lot of people are just completely burned out.”
This was also the case in other industries, in what was called the “Great Resignation”. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Labor Mobility Statistics show that 1.3 million Australians changed jobs in the year to February 2022, or one in 10 workers – the highest rate in a decade.
In a national survey last year, the association found that half of all daycare centers reported an increase in staff turnover since the pandemic, 40 percent said it had stayed the same and only 10 percent said it had declined.
A United Workers Union survey in 2021 found that 37 percent of early childhood educators had no plans to stay in the industry long-term, and three in four of those who planned to leave would. do this in the next three years. The biggest reasons were excessive workload and low wages.
Cathy Clark, the founder of babysitting agency My Little Friend, said there was also a shortage of nannies.
Clark said this was exacerbated by the pandemic as there were still few international students and working holidaymakers in Australia, and many local workers had left the industry after losing their jobs during the lockdown.
Clark said most families chose not to hire nannies while working from home and the demand for babysitters was low because people didn’t go out as often, so young people had taken other jobs and wouldn’t return.
But Clark said there had always been a babysitting shortage because of underlying pay and benefits issues.
“If you’re only making $30 an hour, you can’t afford to live in the eastern suburbs, where there’s a lot of work, so your cost of going to work is high with gas and road tolls,” Clark said.
“If you have to travel an hour and a half to get to work at 7am, you have to leave home at 5:30am, so it’s not a super attractive job.”
Clark said employing a nanny for families should be tax deductible, which would provide an incentive to properly hire staff and pay them vacation time, sick leave and retirement.
Irene Becker, chief executive of agency 99aupairs, said she has focused her business on attracting Australian young people to work as au pairs when international borders were closed.
“For the overseas au pairs, it’s mainly about improving their language skills and experiencing Australian culture, but the locals have different motivations,” says Becker.
“They may want to move out of the house, and they’re also considering career choices, so we try to match them with families living the life of their future career — if they want to go into nursing, we place them with doctors, for example.”
Becker said the youths worked 15 hours to cover room and board, and were paid at least minimum wage for all hours above that.
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