The Scottish Government has released a report on the contribution of non-UK EU workers to Scotland’s Social Care Workforce.
Research undertaken by Ipsos Mori has highlighted that 5.6% of people employed within adult social care and childcare are non-UK EU nationals. This equates to 9,830 workers.
The study, commissioned by the Scottish Government aimed to provide an assessment of the contribution of non-UK EU27 workers in adult social care and children care services in Scotland.
Qualitative findings revealed a sense in which some managers felt the contribution of their EU workers was greater than their basic numerical representation might suggest.
Specifically, managers spoke of these employees’ strong “work ethic”, exemplified through a willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ to get the job done and to continually learn and develop.
The study also looked to identify the extent to which it had become easier or more difficult to recruit and retain these workers over the last year.
The qualitative research revealed that Brexit appeared to have had a limited impact on the sector to date. Nonetheless it did point to concerns that Brexit could prove more of a challenge in the future, with both managers and workers unsure as to what had been decided so far. These findings suggest a clear need for both audiences to be provided with more information about the UK Government and European Commission’s agreement on the matter.
Beyond the Brexit, the research highlighted other ways in which the sector might best be supported to meet current, and potential future, recruitment- and retention-related challenges. Key suggestions from managers and employees included campaign work to raise the profile and reputation of the care sector, and higher pay for workers at all levels, particularly ‘frontline’ staff.