Alliance responds as report finds childcare workers leaving sector for retail

A comment from the Early Years Alliance responding the latest report from the Education Policy Institute, 'The early years workforce: A comparison with retail workers'. The report used data from the Labour Force Survey and compares pay, working conditions, demographics and qualifications of workers in the childcare and retail sectors in England.  A copy of the report is available here:


Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:

“Childcare professionals do vital work and deserve higher pay. There’s no one that disagrees with that - the problem is that the government isn’t prepared to foot the bill. 

“Most childcare providers tell us they’re struggling to break-even, many are making a loss and I hear every week from those who have been forced to close because of underfunding. It’s no wonder that childcare professionals are underpaid if that’s the climate in the sector: there simply isn’t enough money. 

“This all boils down to the type of childcare we want to see in this country. Do we want a high quality early years sector, delivering safe care and setting up our youngest children for a lifelong love of learning? Or do we want a race to the bottom where children come second to financial sustainability? It’s clear where we will end up if things don’t change soon. 

“You can’t blame these dedicated professionals for swapping the pressure and long hours of the early years for more pay and less stress working in a supermarket. This is the fault of government and, if ministers are serious about the early years, then they need to accept the reasons behind why people are leaving the sector and start funding childcare properly.”




About the Alliance

  • The Early Years Alliance (formerly the Pre-school Learning Alliance) is the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England. A registered educational charity, it also provides high-quality affordable childcare and education to support children and families in areas of deprivation throughout the country.
  • The Alliance represents 14,000 member settings and supports them to deliver care and learning to more than 800,000 families every year. We deliver family learning projects, offer information and advice, produce specialist publications, run acclaimed training programmes and campaign to influence early years policy and practice.
  • The Alliance website is