25 Feb 2014
A new study published by the International Longevity Centre-UK and Anchor calls for a change in public perception towards care roles, and for immediate action to be taken by care providers to recruit more men to meet the care needs of the soaring numbers of older people.
A staggering 40 per cent of the projected increase in England’s working age population will need to enter the care profession to tackle a staffing timebomb. If current trends continue, England could face a shortfall of 718,000 care workers by 2025, and an unprecedented number of men are needed to bridge the gap.
Women currently make up 82 per cent of the care workforce and whereas just 4.2 per cent of working men work in health and social care, nearly one in six women (15.5%) work in the sector.
Additional research conducted by Anchor found that even though 94 per cent of young people agree care is a suitable profession for a man, a quarter of men aged 16 to 25 (25%) say they would never consider becoming a carer. Nearly a third (31%) of young men said that was because they simply didn’t know enough about the job to be able to consider it.
With more than 900,000 young people still unemployed, care providers need to examine factors that will encourage jobseekers to join the care sector: half of 16 to 25 year olds (50%) said they would think about a career in care if they knew about development opportunities within the sector and 23 per cent if there were a more positive public perception of the role.
However, the problem is exacerbated because a fifth of parents (19%) – those likely to be impacted by this shortage of carers – would not suggest a career in care to their children, a third (32%) stating that their child ‘could do better’.
Jane Ashcroft CBE Chief Executive of Anchor, which is creating 1,000 new jobs over the next three years to help meet the demands of the ageing population, says: “We must address this workforce timebomb. The care sector needs to attract a wider range of staff: young and old, and we need more men to consider care as a potential career – particularly as men are living longer. Our workforce should reflect the diversity of our customers.
“At Anchor we are creating roles ranging from care assistants through to managerial positions at our new developments. We offer extensive training and promotion prospects that we hope will continue to encourage people to consider joining and staying in the care workforce.”
As an Activities Advisor for all of Anchor’s Care homes in Surrey, Asa Lehane-Johnson, 25, says: “You learn so much from older people and the job is very rewarding; it’s enabled me to develop personally while also helping older people. Every day is different and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
As well as calling for more men into the sector, the report finds that older people could also play a role. Three quarters (75%) of over 50s said they have never considered a career in care however 47 per cent would be persuaded into a career in care if they knew they would be supported by training.