Workforce: Future trends

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Part of Time to Think Differently

In this section we look at trends in the health and social care workforce. This includes what the future might look like for particular groups in the workforce, the opportunites around new roles and pay and conditions.

Key messages

  • Work patterns are changing
    Demand for highly skilled individuals is growing while automation threatens the jobs of the less skilled. Information technology is blurring the boundaries between work and home, facilitating part-time and remote working. Changes to pension provision mean that people can expect to work for longer.
  • The shape and structure of the health and social care workforce requires careful planning to meet growing demand effectively
    An ageing population with a growing burden of chronic disease has implications for the numbers of staff and the skill-mix required to support people who need care both in hospital and at home.
  • Redesign of existing roles and the development of new positions spanning health and social care could facilitate greater integration
    Moves to increase integration and personalisation of care may require professionals to adopt new roles and responsibilities that have a mix of health and social care competencies.
  • Sources of informal care are shrinking while future demand from older people expands
    The ‘care gap’ could place additional pressure on formal health and social care services.

Key uncertainties

  • Impact of new technologies and models of care, workforce trends and changing skill-mix
    Changing technologies and new models of care will have a significant impact on the workforce, but it is hard to predict the net impact on different professional roles.
  • Attractiveness of working in the health and social care sector
    The NHS has traditionally been an attractive place to work, commanding public respect, job security and a good pension. All of these elements are potentially under threat.

Next page: The wider labour force