Severe worker shortages pose an existential threat to the long-term care (LTC) sector in OECD countries, as they have a shrinking workforce at the exact same time that their customer base is rapidly growing. By 2040, employers will need an additional 13.5 million LTC workers to sustain the current care-worker-to-elderly-people ratio. The ongoing demographic shifts have played a major role in this development. While the number of people aged 80 or older in OECD countries is expected to hit 1.2 billion by 2050, their working-age populations are shrinking dramatically. For LTC providers, this demographic trend poses a double challenge: as the populations age, there will not only be more seniors in need of adequate care but also fewer working-age individuals to fill the jobs. The results of the ongoing challenge are already apparent – while some providers have been forced to close their doors, others have to limit their admissions.
Foreign workers will be essential to the survival of the sector. Quality labor mobility can partially help OECD countries to address labor shortages in the LTC sector. At the same time, labor mobility has proven to bring a wide range of benefits to the foreign workers, their families as well as the sending countries’ economies. And yet, less than a handful of countries have appropriate channels to allow adult care workers to move and work in their countries.
This event explored: how labor mobility can help to alleviate worker shortages and strengthen the LTC industry; the sector’s view on how to best address perpetual labor shortages; and finally, how partnerships between the aged care sector, sending countries, and labor mobility service providers can better work together to advocate, implement, and evaluate labor mobility programs now and in the future.