12th April 2022 All Posts Leadership & Management

Attracting Early Years Practitioners to your Childcare Business in 2022

Guest blog: from Male Childcare and Teaching Jobs

The idea of working in childcare as an early years practitioner is a dream for many people. Being paid to educate children and be their role model for a living means getting excited almost every day going to work.

While there are an estimated 363,400 educators working in the childcare and early years sector according to recent research from the Department for Education, it is becoming increasingly challenging to find the right candidate for childcare businesses.

About 25,360 nursery jobs are being advertised on Indeed, whereas more than 500,000 childcare jobs are currently listed on Childcare.co.uk. This leads us to the question: “How can my childcare business stay competitive in terms of attracting quality early years practitioners? 

Male Childcare and Teaching Jobs have put together a guide to help nurseries, schools and other educational settings to attract and retain new teachers and early years practitioners.

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Forming the basis of WHY Teachers and Early Years Practitioners want to Work for your Business over the Competition

How can a business move forward without having a clear understanding of its vision, mission and values? Your why is your purpose, the cause or the belief that drives every business and every person’s individual career.

It is paramount to establish significant points for your childcare setting:

  • What does your business do?
  • How do you do it?
  • Why do you do it?

Your mission describes what your company does from an internal perspective, to inspire and motivate your team. 

Your brand promise is externally focused. It’s crafted to keep your business accountable for delivering a consistent customer experience.

Your vision is a future-oriented concept of your childcare business. Forming a strategic vision is an exercise in thinking about where your company needs to head to be successful. Your vision is a mental image of a possible and desirable future state of your business.

Your mission statement spells out your objective as a company to your staff, managers, target audience, customers and job applicants. You should be specific, concise, use simple words and avoid jargon and acronyms. The statement is not a slogan, it also is not your business vision – the mission statement’s purpose is to communicate.

Your vision, mission and brand promise will form your company culture. Promoting your company culture is one of the most productive recruitment strategies to attract the best talent. Whether you are a nursery manager, an early years practitioner or a nursery apprentice, it is difficult to feel happy and motivated in a job if the culture of that workplace does not align with your personal values.

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Defining your Target Recruitment Avatar

A common mistake many recruiters and nursery managers make when advertising job vacancies, is trying to create a job description before they are clear about who their “perfect person” or prospect is.

Figuring out and defining your target audience will immediately put you in a much better place to speak with them effectively, both through your job descriptions and your correspondences. 

It will absolutely help you determine what types of opportunities they want you to create for them, before wasting time on something they are not even interested in. 

It is important to mould your language and adapt the message you are sending out based on the ideal person you are trying to attract to your business. For instance, if your baby room staff team is already made up of experienced, established practitioners and you are looking to fill a vacancy in that room by employing somebody with no previous experience working in nursery settings, you could highlight the fact that babysitting, nannying and being a parent are fantastic assets that somebody could bring into the setting. 

Therefore, below are some examples of what to consider when posting a job description or communicating with candidates:


  • Age band of candidates
  • Hours of work (full-time or part-time)
  • Childcare and early years qualifications
  • Family-oriented candidates
  • Active daily routines
  • Geographical locations of candidates

Pains and Frustrations:

  • Inconsistent work shifts
  • No job security
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Being unemployed
  • Unhealthy work environment
  • Unhappy at current job

Fears and Implications:

  • Not being considered
  • Difficult application process
  • Lack of work experience
  • Not qualified enough
  • Being unsuccessful
  • Not having enough money
  • Struggling to stay in employment
  • Trouble commuting

Goals and Desires:

  • Securing a job
  • Having the issue behind them
  • Being well respected
  • More income and more money
  • Being healthy, happy and successful
  • Enjoying their job
  • Respect and approval of friends, family and relatives
  • Peace of mind

With a clear understanding of your recruitment avatar, you can focus on crafting messaging for your website, job descriptions and emails that resonate with each individual candidate. You should think of why someone would choose to work with you instead of the competition. What benefits do you offer that your target recruitment avatar will resonate with?

Your job description should have a catchy job title and the details of how to apply should be clear and easy to follow. Have you included the location of the position? Have you included whether the employment is full-time or part-time, or what hours are expected? Have you given a description of your company? You should be selling the role to the candidate.

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Optimising your Website for Recruitment

Does your website make it easy for potential candidates to take action and contact your company or apply for a role? 

Make sure the following basics are in order:

  • Large phone number in the top right-hand corner of every page
  • Website contact form above the scroll of the page
  • Credibility with authority logos like Ofsted, charities, associations, etc.
  • Easy one-click navigation
  • Fast loading webpages
  • Opportunity for candidates to upload their CV in your website
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Creating Video Content to Showcase your Company Culture

Data shows that video recruitment marketing is more important than ever in 2022:

  • Job postings with video icons are viewed 12% more than postings without video
  • Job ads with embedded video get 800% more engagement
  • Job postings with video have a 34% greater application rate than those without
  • 82% of candidates look for jobs on mobile and 87% of mobile traffic is video content

Below are some examples of how you could use videos as part of your recruitment strategies:

  • Creating videos highlighting company culture and perks
  • Creating videos showcasing staff team appreciation events and dates, such as team building days, birthday celebrations, company awards, etc.
  • Sending brief videos to candidates thanking them for applying for a role within your nursery
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Online Websites and Platforms to Post your Job Vacancies

Posting your job vacancies online is by far your most powerful tool to raise awareness of your new job openings in a very fast way. Below you can find some of the most popular websites and platforms you can use to post your job vacancies:

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Paid Recruitment Campaigns

Although it is beneficial and cost effective to use an organic job posting plan, it is also important to take advantage of paid campaigns. 

Below are some examples of platforms you can use to deploy paid recruitment campaigns:

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The Ultimate Checklist for your Childcare Recruitment

Do you have a clear Job Description for the roles you need?

  • Is it written clearly and easy to understand?
  • Have you included the role and responsibilities?
  • Do the applicants need to be qualified? If so what level?
  • Have you included the location of the role?
  • What hours will be required?
  • Do they need to have a certain amount of years’ experience?
  • Is the layout and text used neat and easy to read?

Are you advertising across multiple channels?

  • Are you utilising community groups to advertise the job role, for example ‘Early Years and Childcare jobs UK’ Facebook Group?
  • Are you posting on paid-for job hosting websites, such as Indeed, Totaljobs & Monster?
  • Are you using free-to-post places, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to generate organic interest?
  • Do you offer an employee referral programme?
  • Have you looked into recruitment agencies to post your job?
  • Does your website have a place for vacancies?

What perks and benefits do you offer?

  • Do you offer free training and employee development courses?
  • Do you do team days out?
  • Do you have an employee discount feature, such as a partnership with a cake supplier that you can give parents a discount code for birthday cakes?
  • Do you give discount to employees whose children attend your setting?
  • Do you offer ‘duvet days’?
  • Is there an employee retention process in place, for example every year with the company they gain 1 extra day of annual leave?

Improve your candidate pool continuously

  • Are you investing time in developing relationships with university placement offices, colleges, recruiters & agencies?
  • Are you enabling current staff members to actively participate in industry professional associations and conferences where you are likely to meet candidates?
  • Are you using professional association websites and magazines to advertise for qualified staff?
  • Are you watching online jobs boards for potential candidates who may have resumes online that you can contact?

Have you thought about alternative ways to recruit?

  • Referrals from staff members
  • Have you considered taking trainees/apprentices?
  • Referrals from Friends and Family
  • Recruitment Open Day for people to find out about career opportunities

Have you planned the recruitment process?

  • Where will you be advertising?
  • Is there a pre-interview stage?
  • Will interviews be face-to-face or via a video platform, such as Zoom or Teams?
  • Will the candidate be required to complete a test in the interview?
  • How long will you be running the job post for? Is it continuous?
  • What is your budget for recruiting?

Are you completing a follow up process for applicants?

  • Do you add all applicants to a recruitment list and sign them up for future job posts?
  • Have you ensured that the candidate is kept updated throughout the recruitment process?
  • Ensure that it is clear how the candidate will be contacted, such as via email or phone
  • Be open to receiving feedback on your application process
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The Recruitment of Men in the Early Years sector

While the recruitment of quality candidates is increasingly becoming a daunting experience in the early years sector, the matter of gender-diversity within nurseries and schools’ staff teams is also a growing problem.  With less than 19% of the teaching workforce being represented by males in the UK (less than 3% in early years), it is time for educational settings to take action and go the extra mile to develop a culture of gender equality.



Head to the Early Years Staffing Hub

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About the Author

Marketing Lead at Connect Childcare