Recent survey reveals most common problems of Australian child care services

A recent survey conducted by SmartFees reveals the most common, yet critical challenges early childhood educators face every day. In this week’s blog we’ll illustrate what key problems child care centres identify, discuss their primary goals for the next 12 months and look at some key data crucial to those running child care services who want to pinpoint where they stand amongst their competition.

In next week’s blog we will also provide insights into how child care service directors stay up-to-date with industry news, which peak bodies they refer to on a regular basis and who they turn to for business advice.


Demographics – Who was asked?
30% of respondents identified themselves as the most senior person on staff, 50% stated they are responsible for the centre’s administration and the remaining 20% varied between director/owners and owners or managers responsible for the administration and finance staff.

At the time of the survey, over 80% of respondents ran one child care centre while just over 11% operated two centres and just over 1% ran 3-5 centres. A small percentage of just over 3%  said they looked after more than 10 centres within their organisation.

The majority of respondents, at just over 67%, were long day care centres, followed by outside school care at 40% and occasional day care at 6%*.

28% of respondents stated that having a work/life balance was one of their biggest challenges as well as not finding enough time in the day to complete important tasks, including administration. At 20% the issue of maintaining a strong and professional team (including up-skilling their qualifications) came in as the second highest challenge. Interestingly, administration such as keeping up to date with regulation reporting and looking after finances i.e. chasing debtors, came in third at 14%.

37% of respondents revealed that growing revenue, increasing profitability and maxing out their enrolments was their primary goal. At 19%, complying with the National Quality Framework (NQF) and completing Quality Improvement Plans (QIP) for approved services, was the second most sought after objective. Upgrading existing facilities to enhance the experience for the centre’s children and managing staff in a better way i.e., increasing retention rates as well as conducting more training to increase employees qualifications, were both classed as equally important at 14%.

Looking at this data, one thing becomes particularly clear, child care centre professionals are striving to do better work but are under immense pressure and lack the time needed to get ahead and improve their services. Therefore they need to take first steps to identify the biggest issues within their organisation and find ways to tackle them one by one.

Our next blog will provide further guidance for child care professionals as it details what directors see as most valuable content, which peak industry bodies they follow and refer to in order to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the child care industry, as well who they trust for business advice.

And if you can’t wait till next week for more information, click the button below to download your own snapshot of the report containing more detail on the survey results, as well as key recommendations for child care centres.

Alternatively, if you’d like to be kept up-to-date on the latest industry news and free educational content to assist in helping your child care centre thrive, subscribe to our blog

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* Please note centres could nominate more than one option for this section.

Topics: Child care centre challenges Child care services challenges Managing finances