Retaining Early Childhood Education Workers: A Review of the Empirical Literature

Casey J. Totenhagen, Stacy Ann Hawkins, Deborah M. Casper, Leslie A. Bosch, Kyle R. Hawkey, Lynne M. Borden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Abstract

Low retention in the child care workforce is a persistent challenge that has been associated with negative outcomes for children, staff, and centers. This article reviews the empirical literature, identifying common correlates or predictors of retention for child care workers. Searches were conducted using several databases, and articles that presented quantitative or qualitative data on retention for center-based child care workers in the United States were reviewed in detail. Seven themes emerged as potential predictors of retention: wages and benefits, job satisfaction, organizational characteristics, alternative employment opportunities, demographic characteristics, job characteristics, and education and training. Although some of the findings were mixed, increased retention was generally associated with the following: working in a publicly operated or nonprofit center that meets accreditation or policy standards, being older, maintaining a higher-level position, having more tenure and experience, receiving higher wages, and reporting higher job satisfaction. Based on these studies, child care centers should seek to increase pay, recruit staff with more experience, and aim to improve job satisfaction among staff to help increase retention. In addition, government-funded professional development incentive programs may help child care centers meet the goals of a high-quality, educated, and stable workforce.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages585-599
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Fingerprint

workers' education
Child Care
child care
childhood
Job Satisfaction
Education
job satisfaction
Salaries and Fringe Benefits
staff
wage
worker
job characteristics
Accreditation
employment opportunity
accreditation
Motivation
experience
incentive
Demography
literature

Keywords

  • Child care centers
  • early childhood education
  • literature review
  • retention
  • turnover

Cite this

Retaining Early Childhood Education Workers : A Review of the Empirical Literature. / Totenhagen, Casey J.; Hawkins, Stacy Ann; Casper, Deborah M.; Bosch, Leslie A.; Hawkey, Kyle R.; Borden, Lynne M.

In: Journal of Research in Childhood Education, Vol. 30, No. 4, 01.10.2016, p. 585-599.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Totenhagen CJ, Hawkins SA, Casper DM, Bosch LA, Hawkey KR, Borden LM. Retaining Early Childhood Education Workers: A Review of the Empirical Literature. Journal of Research in Childhood Education. 2016 Oct 1;30(4):585-599. Available from, DOI: 10.1080/02568543.2016.1214652
Totenhagen, Casey J. ; Hawkins, Stacy Ann ; Casper, Deborah M. ; Bosch, Leslie A. ; Hawkey, Kyle R. ; Borden, Lynne M./ Retaining Early Childhood Education Workers : A Review of the Empirical Literature. In: Journal of Research in Childhood Education. 2016 ; Vol. 30, No. 4. pp. 585-599
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