In the news: NHS calling for future carers
The study concluded that the ageing population is a major factor in the decrease of care workers, and that in order to plug the gap more men would need to be encouraged to move into the care industry - at present the workforce is around 80 per cent female.
According to the conclusions drawn from the study, around 40 per cent of the total increase in working age population would need to become carers to meet this demand. Alongside this, numbers would be dependent on those working past retirement age and on foreign workers coming into the industry, a group which currently accounts for one in five UK carers.
The main issue, though, appears to stem with the social association of care work as an inherently feminine role - a connection which many believe is preventing men from going into the care sector. The report stated that social care would need to be promoted in a way which represented the role as one which men could carry out and find fulfilling. Dismantling the association between gender and career paths is a huge factor in changing typical career roles across all sectors of employment, but it appears that within care this is now particularly significant.
Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor, commented on the report: "We must address this workforce time bomb. The care sector needs to attract a wider range of staff: young and old, and we need more men to consider care as a potential career - particularly as men are living longer." She also highlighted the necessity of providing appropriate and comfortable care for all genders, stating: "Our workforce should reflect the diversity of our customers."