- As many as 3 million people combine work with some level of unpaid care.
- Carers make up 11% of the total UK workforce, 1 in every 9 employees.
- The vast majority of carers (80%) are of working age.
Put simply being a carer is like having a whole other job - on top of an employee’s regular job and on top of their other family commitments, hobbies or interests. Caring doesn't work nine till five, it is unpredictable and can be hard to fit around a paid job. Carers often feel they have no choice but to reduce their hours, change to less demanding careers or even give up work altogether. The reasons they feel they have no choice:
- They can't get the flexibility they need.
- They can't get the time off they need.
- They can't get the replacement care services they need.
The problem is not only pressing now, but set to increase. Every year, over 2 million people become carers, some overnight, some more gradually – so there is a new population of carers in the workforce every day. With demographic change, the number of carers is set to grow from 6 million to 9 million in the next 30 years. Future work predictions show that the economy will need an extra 2 million people in the next 20 years, only a quarter of whom will be school leavers. Employers need to widen their recruitment pool at the same time that society will see an increase in the need for care.
Far from compromising business objectives, research shows that using a flexible working approach to support carers can achieve impressive business results. It:
- Attracts and retains staff
- Reduces stress
- Reduces recruitment and training costs
- Increases productivity
- Reduces sick leave
- Improves service delivery
- Produces cost savings
- Improves people management
- Increases staff morale.
Recent research by Carers UK shows that 1 in 3 carers not currently working would work if the right support was available. Many of these carers will have valuable skills and experience which could benefit your business.