Attracting young adults (18–25 years) to work in social care in England: how secondary data analysis may assist policy makers and providers

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The social care sector is one of the fastest growing employment sectors in England, but it faces considerable challenges in recruiting and retaining its workforce. There are proportionally few young workers in this sector, making it less diverse in agethan it might be. In England the government has sought to realise the potential of young people in the labour market, and a number of initiatives have been designed to attract this group to social care work. This article argues that existing data can be used to understand the composition of this group in the care workforce, and to devise tailored recruitment strategies. The authors provide an original indepth comparative statistical analysis of the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care,  examining how the profile of youngworkers in the care sector differs from that of older workers. Findings from regressionmodel and time series analyses show that young workers are significantly less diverse in terms of both gender and ethnicity compared with other age groups, and that they are more likely to work in the private and voluntary sectors. They tend to travel shorter distances to work. Indications that the proportion of young people in this workforce is growing raise questions for social care providers and policy makers. This article discusses conceptual reasons for such findings and their mplications for the sector.

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