The state of Childcare Accessibility in Australia is unsustainable with insufficient places – accessibility to appropriate childcare has a direct effect on workforce participation: Let’s fix this Baby.
CHILDCARE INACCESSIBILITY: IT’S HURTING
Childcare in Australia is an $11Bn industry. The sector consists of approximately 1.5Million children-in-care, with 850,000 families relying upon some form of formal childcare. There are approximately 16,000 registered childcare centres attempting to provide the nation’s childcare demands.
The Productivity Commission identifies that unmet childcare demand is currently around 600,000 places. In addition, there are approximately 165,000 parents who want to participate in the workforce.
The productivity opportunity for the additional involvement of these parents equates to an estimated increase in GDP of $1.3Bn/ annum.
Additional socio-economic benefits include the decrease in welfare spends, a decrease in family stress and associated mental illness, as well as an increase in the educational and developmental opportunities for the children.
The Productivity Commission also states that working age female workforce participation is 67%. This lags far behind other OECD Nations, with Canada, a similar country in demographic composition, achieving 80% working age female workforce participation.
Although women comprise 60% of all university graduates, Australia is losing approximately $8Bn a year from women not re-entering the workforce after graduation. Lack of childcare is a contributing factor and Australia is losing the opportunity of further economic contribution from educated and capable working age women.
THE QUESTION IS WHY?
Access to reliable, flexible, childcare services is cited by the Productivity Commission as the prime inhibitor for parents, and in most cases women, from participating in the workforce.
NOW here’s the irony and the opportunity. Childcare accessibility is well documented as having a direct impact on workforce participation. However, in any one day, on average, there are approximately 8% nationwide absences in childcare centres. This equates to almost 120,000 children who do not present to childcare on any given day due to illness, holidays or other unspecified family reasons.
This vacancy most often goes unfilled because the absence is usually last minute ie: between 6-9am – Peak Hour! The Centre staff are not equipped with the appropriate systems and technologies to seek efficiencies here, and because, in most cases, the absent child must still pay for the spot, the incentive and opportunity to fill that absent spot is often not sought.
WHAT IF, through new and emerging mobile and artificial intelligence technology, those spaces provided by the absent children were able to be automatically and perfectly matched against the appropriate children on waitlists and those requiring additional care?
If the gap in workforce participation could be closed, just a bit, through the use of technology like this – What might the difference be?
MiCare Global has recently launched some clever technology addressing Childcare accessibility. If you are a centre interested in speaking to someone in more detail about MiCare, connect here. If you are a parent and would like to learn more about how you could use this MiCare technology, register your interest here.