With a huge jump in job openings, aging caregivers, and turnover at an all-time high, now is the time to prioritize ways to attract more people to caregiver professions.
Forget the red flags; it’s time to send up the flares. According to a new report from PHI, 8.2 million direct care job openings are expected by 2028, with not nearly enough strategies for filling them. From 2018 to 2028, the direct care workforce is expected to add more jobs than another other profession—including nursing, food service, and software development. Home care will have nearly four times the number of openings as nursing homes and residential care. Read on for more information from this report and how the authors suggest the industry can work to meet demands.
Among other key numbers in this report:
- The long-term care sector is expected to add 1.3 million direct care jobs in the next decade, primarily personal care aide positions.
- The caregiving workforce has already doubled in the past decade.
- There are currently about 43 million family members, friends, and neighbors functioning as caregivers for someone with personal care needs.
- The number of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, 75% of whom require personal assistance, is rising rapidly. The current number (5.8 million) is expected to nearly triple by 2050.
- Nearly a fourth (24%) of all direct care workers are 55 years old or older, compared to 19% a decade ago.
- Almost half (42%) of direct care workers require some form of public assistance to survive.
The report includes interviews with paid caregivers. They talk about various aspects of their work. For instance, they identify some of challenges they face. These include:
- Gaining the trust of clients.
- Learning how to decompress and separate job stress from their personal lives.
- Taking on a lot of responsibility for little pay.
To address the direct care workforce crisis, PHI suggests a “comprehensive, collaborative, cross-sectoral set of solutions,” with two immediate opportunities:
- Improve compensation. The “bottom line is that workers must be better compensated,” says PHI. If this doesn’t happen, and happen soon, this care sector will continue to have problems recruiting and retaining quality workers.
- Build the workforce pipeline. Target recruitment efforts at specific groups, including younger people, older workers, and men. At the same time, employers need to focus on reducing the “tide of hostile immigration policymaking.” Recent policies, PHI states, “threaten the pipeline of immigrant workers into direct care jobs, while driving existing workers out of the workforce.”