Home Care, Home Health Sectors Poised For Growth — But Not In Wages

The home care and home health sectors are poised for growth in the years ahead, and not just because an aging population is increasingly looking to age in place at home. 

New research shows the sectors rank among the fastest-growing occupations and also top the list of occupations expected to generate the most new jobs. 

Personal care aides (PCAs), specifically, are projected to register the largest numeric growth across the entire economy, creating roughly 580,800 new jobs between 2012 and 2022, according to analysis by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI). 

Home health aides come in at No. 4 on PHI’s list of top ten occupations expected to create the most jobs — following registered nurses at No. 2 and retail salespersons at No. 3. 

Additionally, PCAs and home health aides rank at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, on the list of occupations expecting the overall growth in the country. Both will increase by 49%, not far behind No. 1-ranked industrial-organizational psychologists, the top occupation which stands to grow 53% by 2022.

Despite the positions’ overall growth in the economy, one aspect of the sectors won’t grow with them: their pay. Among the top-ten fastest-growing occupations, direct care workers are the lowest paid.

Their wages are even substantially lower than those of other fast-growing occupations with equivalent entry-level qualifications — for example, mechanical insulation workers ($19.47) and stonemason helpers ($13.59).

Notably, nine out of the top ten occupations adding the most new jobs to the economy have low barriers to entry — minimal requirements for education, job training, or work experience. Nonetheless, only one occupation, fast food workers, earns less on average ($8.81) than personal care aides and home health aides, which post median hourly wages of $9.67 and $10.10, respectively. 

“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,” said Abby Marquand, PHI policy research director, in a statement. 

Access the findings here

Written by Emily Study