Since the EU referendum in June 2016, there have been many heated debates about how Brexit will affect the British economy and society. Here at HCL, we are exploring how the social care industry will be affected.
Social care workforce now
The social care sector is heavily dependent on the skills of EU citizens. There are around 90,000 EU citizens in adult social care, who are all making an incredible contribution to our social care services. According to studies from Ireland and the UK, foreign-qualified social workers constitute up to 20% of the workforce. Nearly one in five care workers were born outside of the UK (approximately 266,000 people), of whom 28% were born in the EU. There was a particularly sharp increase in the number of migrant workers in the social care sector between 2011 and 2015: 40% of EU workers arrived during this period.
It is clear that migrant workers play a key role in the social services workforce in the UK. Social care is a sector facing a much-publicised recruitment crisis and Brexit could mean that recruitment into the sector will become even harder.
Brexit also might expose low paid workers to even poorer working conditions, without the EU employment laws.
Finally, a significant number of European funding streams, such as the European Social Fund (ESF), are used to fund employment and social services-related projects. The decision to leave the EU questions the future availability of these grants.
The Government should ensure that health and social care providers can recruit and retain the talented professionals from around the world in order to sustain the number of employees needed.
Have your say on whether Brexit has an effect on you or not in our poll.