Senior Care Workforce Almost 90% Female, But Demographics Are Changing

Women account for the vast majority of health care workers in the senior living space — though the proportion of young male workers is on the rise, a new analysis from senior living industry group Argentum found.

Female employees accounted for 89% of health care workers, with 40% of all workers between the ages of 30 and 49. However, the share of workers under age 30 is larger for men at 40%; women have a 30% share in this age group. In every job group, in fact, the percentage of workers under age 30 was higher among men than women.

“This difference by gender is particularly large among younger health care and food service workers; younger men may be starting to enter traditionally female healthcare occupations,” the report said. “The percent of women age 50 and older is greater than the share for men in each job group, with the exception of business operations.”

The report drew from the U.S. Bureau of the Census’ 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) to profile the senior living workforce through seven major job groupings:

  • Business operations, which accounted for 1% of the workforce
  • Administrative support, which accounted for 7%
  • Management, which accounted for 9%
  • Cleaning and maintenance, which accounted for 10%
  • Food service, which accounted for 12%
  • Personal care, which accounted for 28%
  • Health care, which accounted for 32%

With 60% of the workforce in health and personal care roles, the senior living industry is largely one of caregivers, the report said. Half of the health care-related jobs in senior living community positions are for nursing and home health aides, while another third of jobs are either licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs).

Education in the health care group varied by occupation. Among health aides, the share of workers with an associate’s degree or higher was 15% for health aides and 18% among LPNs. For all other health care occupations except registered nurses, the share of workers with an associate degree or higher was 65%.

More than 70% of health care workers also reported working 35 or more hours per week.

Written by Maggie Flynn

Maggie Flynn on Linkedin
Maggie Flynn
Business reporter at Aging Media Network
When she's not working, Maggie enjoys running, reading, writing and sports, in no particular order. Favorite things include murder mysteries, Lake Michigan and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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