Employee well-being, retention and attraction in early childhood education and care

Päiväkodin työntekijä ja lapset piirissä puun ympärillä. Kuvaaja: Jussi Hellsten.

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The goal of the assessment

The main focus of the assessment was on whether the city had improved employee well-being, retention and attraction in early childhood education and care. The City Strategy aims to develop measures for improving staff availability in early childhood education and care and to initiate these measures during the council period. The entire city intends to improve its employee attraction and retention and improve working conditions by involving all staff in its operations.


The Education Division has taken a large number of measures for improving staff availability, but employee well-being, retention and attraction have deteriorated despite this. Part of this has to do with national trends, which the coronavirus pandemic may have amplified. However, part of the reason is that the staff shortage itself is a factor that exacerbates itself further by undermining well-being at work. But the staff shortage is not only a problem in Helsinki; rather, there is a shortage of early childhood education teachers across the country.

The staff shortage is already so severe that enhanced measures are still needed to improve staff availability. A more permanent solution to the staff shortage also requires action by the state, i.e. sufficient training positions. Based on the staff survey, the Education Division still needs to improve how staff suggestions for improving working conditions are incorporated into the workplace. Investing in employee well-being requires not only divisional measures, but also city-level solutions such as ensuring that employee benefits are competitive. The staff survey also highlighted that day-care centre staff would like to have a more peaceful work environment and less administrative reporting to enable them to concentrate on their core tasks better than is currently possible.

The Audit Committee concludes that

the City Executive Office and the Education Division should

  • continue implementing the salary development programme for the occupational groups facing labour shortages.
  • strengthen lobbying efforts towards the central government to ensure sufficient training positions in the early childhood education and care sector.

the Education Division should

  • account for staff input better in early childhood education and care when deciding on measures for improving working conditions at the workplace level.
  • continue to develop leadership in early childhood education and care.
  • ensure that early childhood education and care staff can focus on their primary work.
  • ensure the adequacy and accuracy of staff reporting.
  • examine whether reinstating the Helsinki benefit could ease the difficult staffing situation in some ways.

the City Executive Office should

  • determine whether the City of Helsinki’s staff benefits are competitive with neighbouring cities.

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