Leading social care organisations have warned the government of an impending workforce crisis and the dire need to improve the public perception of the sector.
In a joint letter to Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Anchor, Care England and United for All Ages urged the government to demonstrate it values social care and improve the perception of the sector in order to avoid a predicted shortfall of up to 1.1 million care workers by 2037.
Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive of Anchor, (pictured), said: “We know the hugely positive impact carers have on the lives of the most vulnerable people in society and how rewarding a career in care is. That is why 83% of our colleagues say their jobs offer personal fulfilment.
“But the perception of social care among the government and the public is shockingly low and must change if we are to avoid a shortfall in the carers needed to provide today’s older people and future generations with the care they need and deserve.”
Research commissioned by Anchor revealed 78% of people were unlikely to consider a career in social care, with 22% saying the sector was not valued by government.
A further 71% of parents said they would not encourage their children to take up a career in social care, with 67% saying the sector was undervalued by society.
A staggering 85% of men said they would not consider a career in the sector. Men make up just 18% of the social care workforce. More than a third (35%) of respondents regarded working in a care home as being a ‘woman’s career’.
Jarred Stansfield, a 21 year old care assistant at Anchor’s Heathside care home, said: “Working in a care home is an incredibly fulfilling and important job, yet it is not valued by wider society and carers often feel let down by the actions of successive governments.
“The government must help change the perception of the care sector and encourage more people, especially men, to think about a rewarding career in care. The fact that so many young men disregard the opportunities a job in care can offer means they are missing out on a potentially great career.”