Employee engagement and retention are major roadblocks for childcare providers. Owners and directors struggle with burnout and turnover and it can be challenging to keep their centers properly staffed. Salaries remain a large part of this conversation.
As we compiled the results of our 2021/2022 Benchmark Report, we saw that although salaries for both directors and educators are increasing, they are still not high enough to compete with the current job market. Early childhood educators need to be paid a living wage in order to show up as their best selves for the children they are supporting every day. As well, directors need to ensure they have enough staff to avoid burnout.
Childcare director salaries
In 2020, the average salary for a daycare center director was $39,964. In 2021/22, it rose with over 60% of directors making more than $40,000 in annual salary. However, this is not high enough. This leaves 40% of directors making less than $40,000 this year. Directors need to be paid more in order to ensure that they can pay their educators appropriately in turn. They need to be able to afford to provide for their own families as well as provide quality childcare and working conditions for their staff.
Early childhood educator salaries
When it comes to educators, their educational background has remained steady year over year with 49% of respondents having an associate degree or equivalent, and another 21% with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
In terms of salary, the average salary of a daycare teacher in 2020 in our survey was $27,156. As of February 2022, 31% of educators remain in that $20,000-$30,000 range, while 27% are above average at $30,000-$40,000. 25% of early childhood educators are paid less than $20,000 in annual salary. The impact of this pay range not increasing will be felt heavily as time goes on. Educators need to be paid appropriately. When they are not, it results in turnover and impacts the quality of care that a center is able to provide to children.
When educators are underpaid, it is felt in everything that they do. They lose motivation in their jobs and in this era of the Great Resignation, they are quick to find other opportunities that can compensate them fairly. It is a job-seekers market for a large number of industries right now and this can hurt early childhood education. Daycare operators need to ensure they are paying a fair wage so that they can retain their staff members and keep them satisfied and motivated to come to work each day.
Download the full 2021/22 Childcare Benchmark Report for more information on educator salaries, childcare enrollment, staffing levels, and revenue trends over the past year.