A new analysis on occupational projections for the direct-care workforce (home health aides, personal care aides and nursing assistants) shows that personal care aides are expected to be the source of the largest number of new jobs across the U.S. economy over the next decade. Nearly 600,000 new personal care aides will be needed between 2012 and 2022, according to the analysis by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI).
Personal care aides and home health aides, together known as home care workers, will be the second and third fastest-growing occupations in the nation, respectively, increasing by nearly one half over this same period, according to PHI. Growth for the home health aide occupation also will be dramatic; it ranks fourth on the list of occupations expected to add the most new jobs, with more than 424,000 new jobs anticipated. Nursing assistants, typically employed in nursing homes, rank sixth of the occupations anticipated to produce the most new jobs during the same decade, with more than 312,000 new jobs projected.
“Policymakers and employers must work together to make these jobs more competitively attractive than other jobs with equivalent entry-level requirements, to meet the rapidly growing need for this essential workforce,” Abby Marquand, PHI policy research director, said in a statement.
Personal care aides and home health aides earn average pay of $9.67 and $10.10 per hour, respectively, of the occupations with the most job growth projected between 2012 to 2022, according to PHI, which notes that only fast-food workers earn a lower median hourly wage. Nursing assistants earn a median hourly wage of $11.97, PHI reports.
PHI has added to its staff to advocate on behalf of direct care workers. Robert Espinoza will join the organization as vice president of policy in February.
Espinoza, who most recently served as the senior director for public policy and communications at SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), will lead PHI’s policy team.
“Robert’s well-honed policy, management, strategic thinking, and communications skills as well as his wealth of experience and success in improving the lives of disenfranchised elders are well suited to further PHI’s policy agenda that stands at the intersection of low-income workforce development and eldercare and disability services,” PHI President Jodi M. Sturgeon said in a statement.