One in four men say they would consider working in the childcare sector but presently only one in 50 childcare workers are men, according to research from the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).
The figures come at a time when the childcare system is desperately looking for new recruits. The recently launched Extended Schools Programme alone – which will see schools providing childcare from 8am to 6pm all year round – needs 163,000 new workers over the next few years.
Jenny Watson, acting chair of the EOC, said childcare services will not meet parents’ needs so unless they recruit men.
However, the EOC says there are key barriers to recruiting men into childcare, including:
Low pay, poor terms and conditions
The perception of childcare ‘women’s work’ and a belief that men are unwelcome
Insufficient information for boys about caring careers and apprenticeships, despite high levels of interest.
“Boys need to be given careers advice and support to attract them into childcare, and allowed to make their choice of career without the bias and prejudice of others shaping their decision,” Watson said.
“But in the longer term, the status of the profession needs to be raised through better pay and conditions.”