SINGAPORE — The Republic’s two largest preschools have announced plans to raise salaries and improve career progression for their teachers and staff.
The PAP Community Foundation (PCF) is reviewing its HR policies, while NTUC First Campus is giving its principals a special pay increase of up to 16 per cent.
The moves come as the preschool sector hires aggressively, in preparation for the opening of a slew of new centres not just this year, but in coming years.
NTUC First Campus said preschool teachers at its 107 childcare centres, My First Skool, have seen their pay go up by 36 per cent in the past five years. Ms Geraldine Lee, chief human resource officer at NTUC First Campus, said: “This year we believe in recognising our principals, who have in many ways done a lot to upgrade their teachers as well as to bring the level of care and quality to the children they take care of every day.”
Staff at Singapore’s largest preschool operator, PCF, could expect a pay rise of six to 12 per cent. PCF has started a full human resource review, and plans to introduce more job grades with corresponding pay scales to give teachers a clearer sense of progression. Eleven per cent of its staff are graduates, and the hope is more will join.
Mr Tay Swee Yee, CEO at PCF HQ, said: “Having graduates will actually uplift the image and professionalism of the sector, so certainly it’s something that’s desirable.”
Mr Tay said the new job grades can be expected between July and September this year, while results of the year-long review will be ready early next year.
PCF and My First Skool were the first preschools in Singapore to get anchor operator status. They receive government grants, and are in return required to offer affordable services.
Both have centres across the island, and in total enrol more than 50,000 children a year.
The two major preschools are turning up the heat in an already-stiff competition for talent, but not all preschool HR managers are worried.
Ms Shirley Wong, head of human resource at MY World Preschool, said: “In this industry there’s already a manpower crunch. Regardless how much you offer, the pool is still the same pool. But with the salary increase, probably it will also attract other candidates from other industries, other sectors.”
Many preschools agreed the key challenge is how to attract career switchers and new entrants into an expanding sector thirsty for manpower.