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Supporting Working Carers: A Growing Challenge

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the challenges facing people juggling work with care and to explore how employers can develop a workplace culture that supports them.

One in seven UK employees is caring for an older, sick or disabled family member or friend who cannot manage without their support. Currently 600 carers leave work every day, a figure which is not sustainable given the challenges to UK productivity.

Supporting carers in the workplace is an issue which cannot be ignored:

  • The UK is facing a significant skills gap; over the next decade, the number of workers aged 16-49 is forecast to drop while the number of people aged 50-65 will rise
  • Increasing numbers of workers will be taking on caring responsibilities; with our ageing population and rising State Pension age, more people will be combining work with care
  • Carers will include many of your most talented and experienced employees; the peak age for caring is 45-64, an age at which many people will have gained valuable skills and knowledge in the workplace.

Organisations which fail to address these issues and do not create a workplace culture which supports carers are potentially at risk of:

  • Losing top talent and skills
  • Incurring recruitment and retraining costs
  • Facing productivity losses

All this impacts the bottom line - It has never been more important to address this growing workforce challenge and to reap the business benefits of creating a fundamentally fair and healthy workplace where everybody has equal opportunity to thrive.

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