Childcare Providers Just Breaking Even

Over half of childcare providers in Northern Ireland report either just breaking even or making a loss in the last financial year whilst only a quarter saw their income increase. This announcement comes as Employers For Childcare launches the ‘Experiences of Childcare Providers in Northern Ireland 2018’ report. In follow up to the latest Childcare Cost Survey results issued last month, the organisation has published research into the thoughts and experiences of Childcare Providers here.

Aoife Hamilton, Policy & Information Manager said: “When talking about the provision of childcare, the focus can be on the cost to parents, but it is important to put this in context with what it actually costs childcare providers to deliver quality childcare. This research report gives over 700 childcare providers a platform to have their voices heard. It shows that despite 59% of providers just breaking even or making a loss, the majority – 77% – have chosen to keep their fees the same. What was apparent from the research was Childcare Providers are concerned about the potential impact of higher fees on parents. This is evident because the majority have sought to absorb these costs and where they have had to introduce higher fees, have looked to minimise these.”

The key reasons given for higher outgoings included rising staff costs because of increases in the National Living and Minimum Wage and pension obligations. This is coupled with the expenditure in terms of food, heating, materials and equipment. What was most worrying, was that in looking forward, a quarter of Childcare Providers anticipate their financial situation will worsen. Employers For Childcare believes this situation is not sustainable and highlights the issue that Childcare Providers can only continue to deliver quality childcare where it is financially viable for them to do so.

Commenting on the positive aspect of working in childcare – The majority of providers said they would recommend a career in childcare. Providers were also very positive about the relationships they develop with the children in their care, and their parents. The results published in last month’s ‘Childcare Cost Survey’ showed the overwhelming majority (87%) of parents reciprocated this and were positive about the quality of childcare provision.
This report highlights the need for strategic investment in the childcare sector in Northern Ireland. Employers For Childcare will continue to lobby for the critical investment that enables parents to access work, education or training, and recognises the value of childcare and those employed in the sector.

Employers For Childcare would like to acknowledge the support of the Northern Ireland Childcare Partnerships in their work.

Click here to read the report in full. If you have any questions about the report, contact Employers For Childcare on 028 9267 8200 or email