The European Parliament’s Employment Committee has released a study providing an in-depth analysis of the long-term care (LTC) workforce across EU member states, including challenges, as well as measures and recommendations to address them.
The LTC workforce constitutes 3.2 % of the entire EU workforce, around 6.3 million people. LTC workers are predominantly women (80%) and almost half of all LTC workers work part-time (45%). LTC faces challenges related to retention and recruitment; labour shortages are predicted to become more acute in the future, due to several factors such as demographic changes, low pay levels, atypical working hours, exposure to physical and mental health risks, all leading to a lack of attractiveness of LTC professions.
LTC has been hardly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbating the already existing challenges. The study points out the need to invest in the sector and its workforce, to upskill and reskill care workers, improve working conditions, and thus be able to recruit and retain an appropriately trained and skilled workforce.
To address the structural labour shortages, some EU Member states focused on recruitment measures to attract new workers and measures to improve working conditions in the sector. According to the study, social dialogue and collective bargaining agreements are also key to address the challenges and ensure a sufficient and qualified workforce.
The study provides a number of possible EU initiatives that could be part of a new European Care Strategy, among them:
- Improving the collection of harmonised EU data on LTC;
- Developing a quality framework to address workforce challenges related to working conditions, recruitment and retention, and training and education;
- Promoting the sustainable management of intra-EU workforce mobility and fair recruitment practices of LTC carers from third countries.
The Social Employers is addressing many of the issues raised in the report in the FORESEE project, in which partners are currently working on developing tailored practices for more attractiveness in the social services sector. More information on FORESEE here.
Read the full report HERE.