The view from the helicopter: Examining the Australian early childhood workforce using the national Census of Population and Housing

Jen Jackson
Victoria University

This study used data from the 2011 Australian Census of Population and Housing to examine differences between Australian early childhood educators at different qualification levels: certificate/unqualified, diploma-qualified and degree-qualified. The study’s theoretical framework is informed by the work of Pierre Bourdieu and views qualifications as markers of broader differences in social and cultural capital. This paper describes how early childhood educators were identified in the Census data, and presents some preliminary findings, showing differences in educators’ schooling, engagement in further study, income, employment arrangements and family responsibilities. These findings suggest that educators’ qualifications are related to broader social differences, which have implications for how different groups of educators might experience current policy efforts to improve workforce qualifications and professionalism. Of particular concern is a group of educators whose educational background and employment circumstances place them at risk of marginalisation in the labour market and in the early childhood education and care professionalisation agenda.


Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 41 Number 4 December 2016.

Don’t forget, the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood is tax deductible for early childhood professionals.