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01.09.15

More male carers needed to match ageing population – Care England

More male adult social care workers are needed to attend to the new demands of a longer-lived male population, according to Care England, which represents independent care providers.

Its chief executive, Professor Martin Green, told BBC Radio 4 yesterday (31 August) that the government should be “much more systematic” in its approach to recruit men into frontline elderly care roles.

“They could make sure that every school understands that care career paths are for men as well as women, they could portray more men in government information on care roles, and they should put more emphasis on reaching out to men when they advertise care role vacancies,” Green said.

He explained that a higher number of men are living longer, necessitating a greater number of men for their personal care – despite 82% of carers in England being women, a figure that has remained static for three years.

Prof Green added: “We have an ageing population and a lot of people who receive care into old age now are men. The majority of carers are women. When it comes to personal care in particular, some men prefer this to be done by a male rather than female.”

The Department of Health said it would “always encourage” more people to become carers, regardless of their gender.

Their spokesman said: “There are a wide range of opportunities for both men and women and we have published guidance on how care companies can attract more men to the profession.”

But Green noted that “entrenched social perceptions” often stop men from considering the job.

He added: “The problem is people always see caring roles as being female roles. We need to make society understand that everyone has the potential to be a carer.

“This is about every arm of government working to change the perception that care roles are just for women. More importantly, it’s about every citizen examining their own pre-conceived notions of who delivers care.”

According to a Skills for Care report, women make up over 80% of the care workforce but men are more represented at senior management levels.

It blames this on low salaries, biased perceptions of the sector and the benefits of part-time work for women.

The report also found that almost a quarter of jobs in the adult social care sector operate on a zero-hours contract, and there is “significant concern” over high turnover and a reliance on non-British workers.

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