Key points for selected Social and Care occupations
- In 2014, there were approximately 102,000 persons employed in the selected social and care occupations, representing 5.3% of Ireland’s workforce (Figure 9.7.1)
- With 52,000 persons employed, care workers/home carers accounted for 50% of overall employment in the selected occupations
- Four fifths of total employment was concentrated in human health and social work activities
- Between 2009 and 2014, overall employment levels in social and care occupations remained relatively static, with a very modest average annual decrease of 0.4% (or equivalent to 2,000); this rate of decline was similar to the national average rate (Figure 9.7.2)
- Over that five year period, employment of welfare & housing associate professionals grew by 3.5% on average annually; the rate of growth was similar for caring personal services occupations; with the exception of child-minders, the average annual rate of contraction in employment for all other occupations was stronger than the national average
- With almost one fifth aged 15-24, the age profile of the workforce of child-minders was the youngest among the selected occupations; in contrast, the workforces of both social workers & welfare professionals and welfare & housing associate professionals were the most mature, each with 30% aged 55 or older (Figure 9.7.3)
- The share of third level graduates among social workers & welfare professionals was 95%; on the other hand, only one third of care workers/home carers and caring & personal services workers had attained third level qualifications; one fifth of care workers/home carers had lower secondary or less qualifications (Figure 9.7.4)
- The workforce of most social and care occupations was predominantly female; it was most almost exclusively female for child-minders
- Two fifths of persons employed in social and care occupations worked part-time, almost double the national average; two thirds of employed nursery nurses and assistants worked part-time (one of the highest shares nationally), while the share was just over a half for child-minders
- One quarter of the workforce of childminders were non-Irish nationals, exceeding the national average share of 14.7%.
In 2014, there were 51,000 care workers and 19,000 child-minders, of whom approximately one half worked part-time and the overwhelming majority was female.
These two occupations are characterised by high turnover rates, with 6,700 and 4,200 transitions due to a change of employer identified in 2014, respectively. In addition, these were among occupations with the highest number of transitions between employment, unemployment and economic inactivity.
Based on transitions to economic inactivity, replacement demand was estimated at 7,000 and 4,000 for care and childcare workers respectively. Given such a large level of movement, it is recognised that some employers may be experiencing difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified care and childcare workers.
Graduate output in 2014 amounted to 3,300 in caring/nursing at NFQ level 5 and 4,000 in childcare at NFQ levels 5 and 6, with a further 1,400 in social work and counselling at NFQ levels 5 and 6. In addition, there were 4,800 job ready carers and 500 child-minders seeking employment in May 2015.
Ireland’s ageing population will be a key driver of the future demand for care workers. The CSO projects that by 2046, over one quarter of the population will be aged 65 and over, while persons aged over 80 are expected to grow to half a million. (Population and Labour Force Projections 2016-2046, CSO, 2013).
The extent to which this requirement translates into employment growth will partly depend on Government policy, given that a significant share of the care services are publicly funded. Some employment expansion was already evident in recent job announcements including those by Euromedic Ireland, Bluebird care, Morehall lodge nursing home, RHS, Daffodil Care, etc.