Social care shortages stretch to all levels of the organisation

By Adam Carter

Unless poorly paid care work is repackaged as an attractive career option, “the sector will become crippled by a lack of workers to meet demand.” That’s the warning from the authors of a new report published today which warns of a ‘perfect storm’ which could ‘cripple’ Britain’s social care sector.

The report conducted by Independent Age and the International Longevity Centre-UK, stated that the social care sector faces a possible shortfall of one million care professionals by 2037 – compounded by the nation’s ageing population.

It also warns that by the end of the current Parliament in five years’ time, the sector could face a deficit of some 200,000 workers in England alone. But it’s not just the so-called ‘hygiene factors’ such as unsocial and uncertain hours, low pay and stressful working conditions that is having an effect – the government’s migration policy is also have an impact too.

Indeed, it is estimated that 1 in 5 social care workers are migrants, primarily from non-EU nation states. This, according to the report authors, needs to be relaxed “in order to help the sector meet immediate staffing needs.”

Saira Grant, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said: “A vital sector such as adult social care should not be threatened by this government’s increasingly harsh and arbitrary changes to the immigration rules.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “In the past it has been too easy for some businesses to bring in workers from overseas rather than take the long-term decision to train our workforce here at home. We accept that care work requires certain skills and share concerns about a ‘continued failure to attract more UK born workers’.

But the shortages are not restricted to care worker roles, the pinch is also being felt higher up the ladder too.

Pressure on social care budgets also means that fewer middle managers are being developed as future leaders of organisations. This shortage of the next generation of leaders will mean that the sector will lack the people it needs with the right skills and strategic business acumen that will be needed.