BREXIT: How will it affect you?

Politically, we’re all aware that we’re living in turbulent times, with a great amount of uncertainty - especially when it comes to the UK’s departure from the European Union. But what effects will be seen by the Social Care sector?

The first thing to consider is timeline - we’re not going to be seeing many of these changes in the next two years, but it’s important to get prepared and be aware. When considering the care industry post-Brexit, we need to think about what else may have changed in our industry.

Some may know that we are an aging population - by the year 2030 it is projected by Skills for Care in The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, 2017 ” that the models project that if the adult social care workforce grows at the current rate, based on growth observed between 2012 and 2016, then a 21% (350,000 jobs) increase would be required by 2030. Following the trend based on population growth of those aged 65 and above, an increase of 31% (500,000 jobs) would be required by 2030".

From these projections we can see that there is going to be a growing demand in the sector for staffing - but how will we cope post-Brexit?

Well, it may surprise you to learn that according to the aforementioned 2017 report, 83% of the adult social care workforce as of September 2017 were British Nationals.

Although there are a high percentage of native workers, we can still anticipate a shortfall of 85,000 non-British vacancies by 2030. These 85,000 jobs will need to be staffed.

According to our sources, the simple fact is, many foreign workers - be they from the EU or elsewhere - are more likely to choose the less desirable positions available.

EU National workers are more likely to opt for less sociable hours or live-in positions, this means that as the available number of these workers decreases, they’ll have to be replaced by British counterparts who may require higher pay or different working conditions.

One employer reported that if his business lost 40 staff who were EU nationals, he would require 60 local staff to fill the shifts.” - The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, 2017

In a survey written by the Nursing and Midwifery Council it is revealed that “Data published in November shows that the number of nurses and midwives from Europe leaving the register has increased by 67% over the last 12 months, while the number joining the register from the EU has dropped dramatically by 89% ”. We can probably assume similar figures for social care. Anecdotally, live-in care providers have reported that, although they are not losing their staff who are EU nationals, they are seeing fewer coming for interview.

What should we be doing about it?

Our first advice: Don’t panic!

We have until 2021 before everything fully takes place and as long as you, as an employer (and as a citizen) stay up to date with the ever-changing state of the Brexit negotiations and how they may affect you, you will put yourself in the strongest possible position.

Providers like you need to look at their own future workforce requirements; identify their staff, their nationalities, whether Brexit could impact on their right to work here or whether they may retire soon. Consider what gaps will need to be filled over the next four years. It’s advisable that providers use the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (an online database which holds data on the adult social care workforce) to track this, as it also feeds into the data used for Government and sector-wide workforce planning.

Much like all issues relating to Brexit we won’t know until the changes are actually in place, so it is very difficult to predict how it will pan-out until the Brexit process has been finalised.

Our best advice for now - keep up to date with the news regarding Brexit and we will, of course, let you know as soon as we know more.