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2021 Long-Term Care Report: Trends, challenges and opportunities in an ageing society

June 30, 2021

2021 Long-Term Care Report: Trends, challenges and opportunities in an ageing society

The Commission has released the 2021 Long-Term Care (LTC) Report, which maps current and future demand for long-term care, characteristics of the workforce and financing aspects. It provides an overview of the challenges in LTC that can be also applied to all social services sector and will be the basis for a LTC initiative in 2022.

The workforce demand in long-term care is increasing and is likely to continue growing in the years to come. It is projected that the number of people potentially in need of care will rise by more than 8 million until 2050.

Long-term care systems have been strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to their users’ high vulnerability to the virus. The crisis has also increased the pressure on the already existing structural challenges that many long-term care systems are facing, mainly related to staff shortages.

The report assesses that many employers experience major difficulties in attracting a sufficient and skilled number of long-term care workers, due to:

  • Working conditions and job attractiveness: A large majority of long-term care workers feel that their work is useful, but many are not satisfied when it comes to monthly earnings, physical and social environment, and working-time quality. In addition, the report finds that digitalisation and new technology can have.
  • Workforce trends: almost 90 % of formal long-term care workers are women, mostly middle-aged. How to attract more men to work in LTC, and how to recruit staff filling in for workers who retire remains a challenge.
  • Care drain: many long-term care workers from certain Member States are working in other ones, mostly for better salaries and working conditions, which exacerbates labour shortages.
  • Skills and education: Skills requirements in long-term care are increasingly complex, which may exacerbate the skills gaps in the sector. There is a lack of digital skills among some of the workforce, and issues to certificate qualifications of personal care worker across the EU.

The report highlights the need to increase the attractiveness of the sector through better working conditions, invest in skills and new technologies, and points out the role of social dialogue and collective agreements to attract and retain LTC workers.

The Social Employers and EPSU examined these issues and put forward several approaches to face the recruitment and retention challenges in the social services sector in a joint position paper.

Read the full EU and country reports HERE.

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