Key points for selected Social and Care occupations
- In 2015, there were 112,000 persons employed in the selected social and care occupations, representing 5.7% of national employment.
- Approximately 57,000 persons were employed as care workers/home carers, accounting for just over 50% of total employment in the selected occupations.
- 80% of total employment was concentrated in human health and social work activities.
- Between 2010 and 2015, overall employment levels increased by 1.8% (above the very modest national average rate of 0.8%); the strongest employment growth rates were observed for childminders (5.7% on average annually) and caring personal services (5.2% on average annually); in contrast, the strongest rate of contraction was observed for youth and community workers (5.9% on average annually).
- Over that same period, there were almost a net 10,000 additional jobs created; the largest employment increases (in absolute terms) were observed for childminders and care workers/home workers; the largest decrease was observed for youth and community workers.
- Employment levels of nursery nurses and assistants and social workers and welfare professionals remained relatively unchanged, although negative growth rates were observed.
- Between 2014 and 2015, overall employment expanded by 9.9% (approximately 10,000).
- Approximately one quarter of the overall workforce of most occupations was 55 years or older.
- Almost all employed social workers and welfare professionals had attained third level qualifications; almost one third of both both care workers/home carers and caring personal services workers were third level graduates; just over one fifth of care workers/home carers had attained lower secondary or less qualifications.
- The share of females employed in each occupation was well above the national average; almost all employed childminders and nursery nurses and assistants were female.
- There was a higher than national average share of persons in part-time employment in most occupations; two thirds of employed nursery nurses and assistants worked part-time (one of the highest shares nationally).
- One quarter of employed child-minders were non-Irish nationals – above the national average of 15%.
In 2015, there were 57,200 care workers and 21,500 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 6,100 and 3,300 transitions due to a change of employer identified in 2015, respectively. In addition, these were among occupations with the highest number of transitions between employment, unemployment and economic inactivity.
Given the high level of turnover, as well as the high volume of job vacancies advertised (approximately 15,000 in May 2016), it is recognised that some employers may be experiencing difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified care and childcare workers.
In 2015, there were 6,000 caring/nursing major awards at NFQ level 5 and 5,000 in childcare at NFQ levels 5 and 6. In addition, there were 4,200 job ready carers and 400 child-minders seeking employment in May 2016.
Ireland’s ageing population will be a key driver of the future demand for care workers, while any increases in the labour force participation will result in the increase in the need for child-care workers. 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 and an increasing share of child-care services are publicly funded.
Some employment expansion was already evident in recent job announcements including those by Carechoice, Comfort Keepers Homecare, TTM Healthcare, Nua Healthcare and Ardmore Care.
While there is no shortage of nursing aids and healthcare assistants, geographical mobility and a lack of attractiveness of the job (e.g. temporary contract) have been identified as issues in relation to the availability of some healthcare skills.