Women, people of color, immigrants make up long-term care workers, face workforce inequities

Published: Tuesday, February 8, 2022 - 3:38pm
Updated: Tuesday, February 8, 2022 - 3:39pm

A national organization that focuses on strengthening the direct care workforce —- people who provide hands-on caregiving — released a new research brief about the inequities facing these workers

Research shows that long term care workers are largely women, people of color and immigrants. And the percentage of women of color working in this sector is growing. 

"For example, the research shows that women of color are a growing segment of the direct care workforce, the increase from about 1.4 million workers in 2009 to 2.4 million workers in 2019," said Robert Espinosa, the Vice President of Policy at PHI.

"I think there's a long history of people of color being concentrated into low paying occupations," he said. "And so direct care is just another example of the ways in which people of color have been concentrated into jobs that don't pay enough and are easily exploited."

When it comes to gender, he says caregiving has been historically seen as "women’s work," "that doesn't require the same level of economic and legal support as other occupations, all of which we know is not true."

PHI recently launched an equity institute, which aims to address many of the issues facing this workforce including pay and advancement opportunities "because the solutions that we'll need to improve job quality, and strengthen recruitment and retention in the future are going to rely on an explicit understanding about inequities and solutions that are equity-focused," he said.

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