August 15, 2017The OECD report, Starting Strong 2017: Key OECD Indicators on Early Childhood Education and Care, has been released and stresses how Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) lays the groundwork for the future. The report aims to provide current and reliable information for countries to improve their ECEC services.Starting Strong 2017 focuses on several key points related to the topic of the early years workforce; such as the gender disparity within the workforce, training for practitioners, salaries and workload.The report indicates that, 97% of pre-primary educators are female. This gender imbalance is present across the globe and provides issues for the field. Similarly, an ageing workforce in some countries will present an issue in the coming years.Most OECD countries require a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent; however, the length of the initial training for pre-primary teachers fluctuates between countries. Moreover, there is a need for more in-service training and ongoing education for teachers in this field.Salaries and the workload of pre-primary teachers were also discussed in the Starting Strong 2017 report. On average, pre-primary teachers in OECD countries only receive 74% of the average salary of tertiary-educated worker.A low salary is often exacerbated by large group sizes, low staff to child ratios and heavy workloads. Practitioners with heavy workloads often struggle to perform as well. OECD countries vary in the number of contact hours teachers have with children and non-statutory or non-contact hours are not taken into account in the report. The average staff to child ratio at the pre-primary level is 14 children for every teacher.You can read the full report, here.