Entry-level workers quit jobs in home health care and nursing homes during the pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020 and 13.7 million workers in direct health care jobs lost their jobs, they did not turn to direct health care jobs. recent research found.

Of the 9.1 million new job seekers, “an immeasurably small number of workers” were employed as direct care workers, despite high demand for staff, according to research by the PHI consulting firm and the Long-Term Health Care Research Center. UC San Francisco found.

“The fact that few workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic have moved to open direct care jobs highlights the need to improve direct care jobs to attract highly skilled and dedicated people to care for people who need their services.” said Joanne Spec, associate director for research at the Health Manpower Research Center for Long-Term Care at the University of California, San Francisco and author of the report, according to a press release.

At the start of the study, the authors expected to be able to compare new caregiver jobs – positions such as Personal Care Assistants, Home Care Assistants, and Nurse Aides – with their previous occupations, Stephen McCall, Data and Policy Analyst at PHI and One of the study authors reported Modern Healthcare. But instead, they found that “statistically null” people who lost other entry-level jobs such as food preparation and service, as well as analyzed office and administrative support, ended up in a direct care workforce, he said.

“What surprised us most, I think, was that no one showed up for work when they were needed,” McCall said.

PHI estimates that long-term care employers will need 7.4 million workers between 2019 and 2029, including 1.3 million new jobs. According to the latest figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing home sector lost 37,600 jobs in September alone, continuing its downward spiral.

For a long time, the industry has struggled to attract workers, McCall said, because direct care jobs are often associated with low-paying and undervalued positions with few career opportunities. And that only exacerbated the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it risky to work in collective settings like nursing homes, he said.

Of those who returned to the labor market, 22% found jobs in lower-paying jobs than they were when the pandemic began. But even these jobs pay more than direct care jobs, the study found.

The authors recommended a focused effort to recruit others for entry-level positions, offering support for people of color and childcare assistance for parents and higher wages.

“I think it has always been true that in order to change the turnover and vacancy curves, we will have to think about the quality of work in general. For the most part, these are still dead-end jobs with disabilities for promotion. McCall said.

In other areas with similar pay, such as retail and fast food, wages are raised and benefits are offered, such as childcare and help with tuition fees. McDonald’s increased hourly wages by an average of 10% in May and plans to increase the average hourly wages in restaurants owned by the company to $ 15 by 2024. Target and Walmart have started paying full tuition fees for their employees at college.

“The main lesson of this report is that our country’s leadership will need to transform the caregiver so that employers can fill these jobs – now and in the decade ahead,” said Kezia Skales, director of policy research at PHI and one from the authors of the report. authors, the press release said.

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