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Men in Social Assistance – FE News

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Paul Wakeling, Executive Director of Curriculum and Quality at The Skills Network

There are An estimated 1.67 million jobs are in adult welfare across the UK, their vital work supports thousands of those in need across the country.

Now Fr. new report Skills For Care Emphasizes the increase in the number of social workers experiencing burnout after a pandemic, using a deadly cocktail of mandatory vaccinations (subsequently removed), a doubling of absenteeism due to Covid-related illness, and a sudden drop in the supply of international workers as a result of tightened immigration rules, creating a “rapidly deteriorating situation”, according to ADASS. (Association of Directors of Social Services for Adults).

Due to the growth of vacancies in this sector to 9.1% in October 2021 from 6.2% in MarchADASS President Stephen Chandler is urging the government to recognize and allocate emergency funding to address the growing “unmet need” in this critical sector of work.

What does the social assistance sector look like?

Adults work in the social assistance sector an estimated 1.54 million people, holding 1.67 million vital positions nationwide. Despite this, there is a shortage of workers and a significant gap in the demographics of employees.

In a recent report by The Skills for Care, the gender gap in social care workers has shown that 82% of this workforce identify themselves as women. This trend was observed in all surveyed positions, including:

  • Senior management
  • Registered manager
  • Social worker
  • Occupational therapist
  • Certified Nurse
  • Senior care worker
  • Care worker
  • Support of advocacy activities
  • Personal Assistant

Back in 2019, an article in The Guardian entitled “Joebs for boys»Stressed the need to attract more men to the sector, providing useful opportunities to address the growing shortage of staff, as well as fulfilling the requirement to offer an alternative for those who care to have a choice: they are cared for by men.

The problem of traditional perceptions of “gender careers” is felt throughout the labor market, and for many unconscious bias affects career growth and recruitment. Jobs such as mechanics, carpenters and electricians still represent a significantly “male” career: 99.19%, 99.01% and 98.27% respectively belong to this demographic group. While roles such as nurses and kindergarten assistants remain in the sector 97.77% of the female workforce.

As we enter an era of greater acceptance and smoothness of gender norms, one can expect a shift in such beliefs in the workplace. But despite long-term progress on equal opportunities across society, an Anchor Hanover study published in 2019 found that 85% of men say they simply would not choose a career in care, and 35% of respondents believe that the social assistance sector is “Women’s sector”.

What causes bias in the workplace?

The effects of bias are felt throughout the workplace, in a recent article published by FE News, written by colleague Sian Wilson, CEO of The Skills Network, sheds light on bias against Women in the EdTech industry.

While gender bias often stems from stereotypes, unconscious bias poses a great risk to both the employee and the employer. Unconscious bias is often so ingrained that behaviors operate without conscious thought. The implications of this are evident in these “gender” work roles, and it is important that educators and employers work to break down this bias to create a more diverse, adaptable and inclusive workforce.

How can education help?

Education is a key element in addressing bias and the consequent shortage of staff throughout the labor market, enabling people to recognize the unconscious bias they may have in their personal lives.

Offering learning provisions accessible to all people, regardless of background, lifestyle and preferences, and expanding content and materials to encourage inclusion in learning opportunities creates more equality in educational settings.

When transitioning in the workplace, focusing on the skills and behavior of the employee is key, providing a constant awareness of the reality of unconscious bias. As soon as the employer creates more inclusive employment opportunities, these individuals from underrepresented groups will be able to feel empowered to enter more diverse job sectors.

The social assistance sector is an area where the inequality of staff demographics continues to be tackled, with signs of gender bias along with low-paid roles providing less incentive for those wishing to enter the sector.

Breaking unconscious gender bias through better educational resources and equal employment opportunities may be a possible solution to inviting more men into the sector. Similarly, incentives such as a 12-month health and care visa are now giving international staff the opportunity to work and live in the UK, which is another step towards creating a more diverse workforce in the sector.

Paul Wakelling, Executive Director of Curriculum and Quality at The Skills Network

Learn more about inclusive learning opportunities in health and social care from The Skills Network here: https://bit.ly/3Mtf9G5

Read more about the international visa scheme for health and social services from The Skills Network here: https://bit.ly/3yJOf8Q

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