‘Third-age’ workers caring for adults and older people in England: findings from secondary analysis of the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care

Despite recent policies and legislation promoting age-friendly employment in the UK, the effects of age discrimination are still evident in the hiring, retention and career development opportunities of older workers, and reflect wider societal perceptions. As well as the general challenges faced by older people who are seeking to join and stay in work, those who are members of certain groups face additional cultural, socio-economic and other barriers. This article investigates empirical data on the current stock of older workers in the adult social care sector in England, identified through the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care. It follows a previous discussion of the position of younger workers in the care sector presented in this journal. Using quantitative data analysis of a large workforce sample of the records of over 80 000 workers, we examine the changing profile of three closely related third-age cohorts and investigate the similarities and differences between those working in the care sector aged 60 years or older, and two younger age groups (50–54 and 55–59 years). The analysis shows that workers in the age range 50–75 years constitute nearly 40% of the whole workforce. In particular, the contribution of the oldest third-age group, aged 60–75 years, is substantial, at around 12% of the total. The implications of this diversity are explored.

Author(s): Shereen Hussein, Jill Manthorpe

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