New research launched by care provider Anchor, uncovers a profound upswing in respect and admiration for the social care sector since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research revealed that half (49%) of the public now have a higher opinion of social care since before the pandemic. Crucially, 73% are demanding parity of esteem with the NHS, arguing that social care and the NHS are equally important.
The pandemic has thrust the unwavering efforts of social care workers into the spotlight – with 41% of the nation recognising how they have gone above and beyond during the pandemic and 38% seeing the difference social care workers have made to those they care for during a challenging and uncertain time.
It has also provided a unique opportunity for the nation to stop and think about what they want from their careers and from their lives. Many are contemplating their next steps, with 46% of the public re-evaluating what ‘fulfilment’ looks like to them. Nearly half (48%) of the nation says this challenging period has made them reconsider their life goals, in particular 25–34-year-olds (59%).
Opportunity to address urgent workforce shortage in the care sector
As the research reveals how the nation is considering their career goals and wanting to do more for others post-pandemic, this provides a crucial opportunity to address the urgent workforce shortfall in the sector by encouraging people to consider a career in care.
The research follows the government’s recent announcement of social care reform, including a future plan to champion its workforce. But with the sector needing over 600,000 more staff by 2031, action is needed now to futureproof the workforce and the vital work they do.
More than just a job
With the public now considering what more they can do for others, and an additional 38%reconsidering their career goals, the research identifies that a career in care could provide a meaningful solution.
The higher regard for the social care workforce follows years of being considered an undesirable career due to outdated perceptions and delayed reform. Anchor’s research reveals that compassion (49%) and empathy (44%) are among the traits most strongly associated with a career in social care. The public also recognises that working in the sector can be challenging (50%) but is nonetheless rewarding (39%).
A career in social care isn’t restricted to just one route and there are many different career paths to suit a range of interests and skill sets.
Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive of Anchor, said:
“Everyone deserves a fulfilling later life, but this wouldn’t be possible without our nation’s social care workforce. So many colleagues have demonstrated unwavering compassion and commitment throughout the pandemic. For too long, people working in social care have been unsung heroes, but having been at the forefront of national conversation throughout the pandemic, I’m deeply encouraged that half of the public now has a higher opinion of the sector.
“We welcome the government’s commitment to social care reform, but with the sector facing a significant workforce shortage, we must act now. We need to galvanize the people who are thinking about a career change and wanting to do more for others, to consider a career in care. Social care has been the backbone of our nation during the pandemic, and can provide a meaningful, challenging and fulfilling career.”