In Australia, the working-class is largely dependent on child care services. It’s no surprise considering the obligations they have in their work life. This dependence leads to considerable expenditure in the industry. According to a survey in 2009, 6% of the income was spent on hired child care services. Since then, this percentage has been increasing. Now, why do you think this rise in expenditure on child care has happened?
- First of all, the Australian government has subsidised child care centres to make them more affordable. This led to most parents choosing daycares due to that value-for-money proposition in the early years’ education.
- Second, there have been stringent rules and regulations for the administration of child development services. It gives them the security of their child being in the right hands.
The Current Scenario of the Childcare Industry
From the firm’s perspective, it isn’t straightforward to stick to the parent’s preferences as there is so much diversity. However, the survey suggests that some universal insights have been there in the mother’s perspective. That is why this article is to make you aware of the preferences and priorities set by parents that are almost common to the whole market.
Preferences and Priorities
Time spent by the child in a daycare centre
It’s interesting to note 50% of the mothers preferred the long daycare centres. However, it’s only because they were satisfied with the current child care centre services. Only a reputed child care centre would attract the market of a long daycare centre, preferring mothers. So, quality and image cannot be compromised.
Spending time with the close ones
About 25% of the mothers preferred handing over their children to their relatives or grandparents. It’s an informal sector that can be used along with the formal sector. 32% of the mothers preferred a combination of both of these. Also, due to more flexibility, part-time working mothers preferred only the informal sector. The irregular working hours allowed them to accommodate their day better. More affordable child development services partly solved the problem.
Claiming the subsidy
The rule set by the Australian government is to strictly check the financial position of the family claiming the subsidy. The rule was to subsidise only those parents who were working, studying or looking for such opportunities. These conditions also influenced the amount to be funded, ranging between 20% to 85%.
The availability of child care services
Most parents only prefer the child care services that are readily available nearby. There was a situation wherein some areas there was an oversupply of the services, and some had a shortage. Especially for children, up to 2 years of age had no quality child care. This led to an increase in demand for even minute child care services for those who did not have any other option.
Factors mostly considered while selecting a child care centre
Now comes the part solely in the hands of child care providers. This is where they can make a difference in the preference of the parents by a huge margin. The following list mentions though the most essential areas of consideration by the parents.
- Safety was always the first preference for every mother even though some didn’t mention it verbally.
- Due to a large population of working mothers, the long daycare centre was the first factor they considered.
- Then came the location, i.e. the availability of childcare services near them.
- Affordability followed it as parents didn’t want to spend a significant amount of child care.
- Then came the credentials held by the staff working in the child. Almost every parent asked about the Qualifications held by the caretakers even though it was their 5th priority.
- The quality of early learning for a child was another factor of consideration for them.
With this list of priorities, one can easily conclude mothers were more concerned with practicality rather than the curriculum offered in the child care centre.
Also, we can conclude parents do not have much knowledge about the quality of childcare and what exactly comes out of it. All these factors call for appropriate changes to be made in the aspiring child care centres. Along with maintaining adequate quality, childcare centres need to focus on other priority areas as well.