Progression Bottlenecks Could Limit Supply Of Skills In Health And Social Care, As Demand For Care Roles Set To Boom

Demand for workers in health and social care services is set to rocket in the years ahead, but new research shows progression bottlenecks could risk a shortfall in workers with the right talents.

The findings, released today by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), highlight a growing need for staff in the sector – with over 2 million more workers needing to be trained and recruited by 2022.

But findings show a poor prognosis for skills in health and social care, with employees finding limited opportunities to progress to higher level roles, and many younger workers leaving the sector as a result.

The research also shows a larger than average proportion of those working in the sector are aged between 50 to 64, further stressing the need for new talent as a large cohort of the existing workforce is set to retire in the years ahead.

Vicki Belt, Assistant Director at UKCES said: “With medical advancements leading us to live longer, more active lives, the knock on effect is a sharp rise in the need for those who keep us in good health in our later years.

“These findings demonstrate the dramatic extent of this need – health and social care is already the largest sector in the UK, yet to meet the rising need for care we will need to see a 50% increase in the number of people working in these fields.

“However, the problem goes beyond just a need to recruit. Employers must do more to create attractive career pathways through which people can progress, as well as develop training routes which can apply to roles in both health and social care – opening access to all areas the sector.”

The report, Skills and Performance Challenges in Health and Social Care, highlights the changing face of work in the sector, with future care needs set to revolve around enabling patients to support themselves and live independently

An increasing shift towards patients managing their own care, and more care taking place in the home, is also creating a rising focus on preventative treatments, greater use of technology and a need for more autonomous, remote working from the existing workforce.

In order to tackle these challenges the report calls on employers to create more training opportunities and intermediary roles, increasing options for progression, as well as develop dual training routes – allowing individuals to progress careers in both health and social care without the need to retrain.