The MITEY (Men In The Early Years) Guide to Recruiting Men into Early Years Education, published for International Men’s Day (19 November 2019), calls on early years employers to take active measures to recruit men, thus doubling their pool of talent and creating a more representative workforce.

Our free 20-page guide – endorsed by the Early Years Alliance, National Day Nurseries Association and the Men and Boys Coalition, amongst others – suggests practical ways for early years employers to attract more men into the workforce. These include:

  • Replacing ‘feminised’ job titles like ‘nursery nurse’ with more gender-neutral terms like ‘early years practitioner’
  • Keeping a check on sexist ‘workplace banter’
  • Including ‘positive action’ statements, images of men and male case studies in job advertisements, to clarify that male applicants are welcome
  • Holding open days targeted at attracting male recruits
  • Promoting early years and other caring jobs to boys of all ages
  • Working with Job Centres to promote early years careers to men
  • Promoting vacancies via fathers who use early years provision, as well as mothers

Action is needed now more than ever. There is an ongoing recruitment crisis in the sector (for more information, read this NDNA report), and early years education has one of the lowest levels of male participation of any workforce in the UK. Earlier this year the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development identified the lack of gender diversity as a key factor in the shortage of early years education staff across the developed world (read the OECD’s report). 

The author of the MITEY Guide to Recruiting Men into Early Years Education, Dr Jeremy Davies, head of communications at the Fatherhood Institute and MITEY campaign project lead, said “We are suggesting some simple changes that early years organisations can make to show men they are welcome and valued as professional caregivers and educators. For too long there’s been an acceptance that men aren’t interested in this field. That’s not good enough. We know this isn’t an easy nut to crack but we need to do everything we can to pull them in.”

Stella Ziolkowski, National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)’s Director of Quality and Training said: “NDNA fully supports the Fatherhood Institute’s Men in the Early Years guide to recruitment, which we will be sharing with our members across the UK. It is packed full of good ideas and helpful suggestions for early years settings to be able to use in order to try to redress the gender balance in the workforce.

“Nobody is doubting the challenge that childcare providers are up against, but it is vital that we all do our best to approach this issue head on.

“Both NDNA and the Fatherhood Institute recognise the value of recruiting more men as early educators to work alongside their female colleagues. In June this year, men took home NDNA’s coveted Practitioner of the Year and Manager of the Year awards. This recognised the excellence and value male practitioners bring to the workforce.

“A wealth of research points towards better outcomes for children who are cared for and educated by a diverse workforce which reflects the community and society as a whole, to inspire children’s learning journeys.”

Michael Freeston, Early Years Alliance Director of Quality Improvement, said: “Getting more men into childcare has always been a tricky task. With its thought-provoking and practical approach, this well-presented and easy-to-follow book makes the ideal companion for owners and managers struggling to recruit and maintain male early years professionals.”

Dan Bell, CEO, of the Men and Boys Coalition, said: “This excellent guide is brimming with clear, practical strategies to support the important mission of bringing more men into early years teaching. The guide also offers crucial insights into some of the barriers to men, along with great advice on how to avoid approaches and attitudes that can put men off applying. The Men and Boys Coalition wholeheartedly endorses this excellent guide to boosting the number of men in the early years profession.”

If you are already a member of the MITEY network, you will have already received your copy of the guide via an email sent on 19 November. If you haven’t received it, please contact us.

To join the network and receive your free copy of the guide, please follow this link.