The Institute for Public Policy Research recently released a report Shall we stay or Shall we go, showing that more and more immigrants to the UK are staying for a short time and then leaving.   The migrants who are most likely to leave are those with high skills, good education and low barriers to movement.

Concurrently the Center on Migration Policy and Society at Oxford University released a report Migrant Care Workers in Ageing Societies UK, which showed that the employment of migrant workers in care occupations has increased significantly in recent years.   These individuals are not likely to be as mobile as the higher skilled workers described in the IPPR research and therefore remain for longer periods of time.

Some experts think that the economy is slowing down migration of workers and that in the long run everyone, aged care included, will have to find alternative ways to deal with the worker shortage.    Mark Pearson, Health Director at the OECD, in his presentation at IAHSA’s London Conference, gave three strategies for dealing with the shortage:

•    Increase the number of people working in long term care.   This can be done by developing training programs and career structures to attract workers to the field and ameliorate the poor image of LTC jobs.  Another strategy for increasing the number of workers is to recruit LTC workers from underrepresented and inactive populations, such as retired people, unemployed populations and volunteers.
•    Invest in policies to make better use of available labour capacity.    Better retention of current workers can be affected by increase in wages, benefits and non-wage benefits.   In addition improved coordination between the LTC and health care sectors and increase efficiency and provide better value for money.
•    Reduce the need for LTC workers and improve productivity of LTC jobs.   Use of information and communication technologies offer opportunities to address the demand on LTC labour.   In addition promotion of health ageing policies, including promoting self-care and redefining job tasks can help reduce the need for LTC workers.

Share your ideas on ways in which you’re dealing with the workforce shortage.