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Switzerland seeks more male nursery workers

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Switzerland seeks more male nursery workers
Nurseries in Switzerland are currently struggling to recruit new staff. Photo: Nicolas Nova
12:52 CEST+02:00
The Swiss body responsible for children's daycare services is calling for more men to become professional childcarers in the hope of making up a nationwide shortfall of nursery workers.

Expats and cross-border workers may be among those being targeted in the recruitment drive by childcare federation Kibesuisse.

It comes as nurseries and daycare centres around the country are struggling to find staff, reports newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag.

Speaking to the paper Jeannette Good, director of crèche association ABB, said: “Not long ago we were drowning in CVs. But now we lack qualified staff.”

At the moment between three and eight percent of daycare employees are male, a figure Kibesuisse hopes to raise through a targeted campaign to encourage more men to enter the profession.

One solution may be to focus on expats and cross-border workers, as the city of Zurich did last year, writes 20 Minutes.  

When several hundred nursery places were made available authorities called on qualified German expats to apply.

But the anti-immigration vote of February 9th this year, which initiated quotas on EU immigrants to Switzerland, may put an end to that idea, says the paper.

Kibesuisse’s campaign faces other obstacles, too.

“The salary is low. And it’s a physically and mentally demanding profession,” Stefanie Knocks of Kibesuisse told the paper.

The average nursery worker earns between 3,900 francs ($4,300) and 4,300 ($4,700) francs a month.

Male nursery workers also suffer from mockery and sometimes worse.

“People tease me when I talk about my job,” said one worker to Schweiz am Sonntag.

In July 20 Minutes reported the case of a 16-year-old nursery intern who was sacked after being suspected of inappropriate behaviour with the children.

Despite being cleared, the intern’s fellow male colleagues decided to resign for fear of being similarly accused.

At the time Kibesuisse confirmed to 20 Minutes that men are often suspected of being potential sexual aggressors.

“It’s a shame because a team of men and women is ideal for kids,” said Kibesuisse co-director Nadine Hoch.

“This constant suspicion towards male staff is, in my opinion, one of the factors – besides low salary and weak career progression – that puts men off this type of job.”

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