Home health agencies struggling with staffing and retention issues may find solace in the fact that the supply of caregivers will only continue to grow, as the home health aide occupation is expected to be the fastest-growing job in the health care industry over the next decade, according to the 2016-2026 Employment Projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s (BLS).
Overall, home health aides came in third in the top ten fastest-growing occupations, right after solar panel installers and wind turbine service technicians, which clinched the top two spots, respectively. The home health aide occupation is projected to see a 46.7% growth rate by 2026, according to the BLS.
Trailing right behind the home health aide occupation is the personal care aide profession, which is expected to grow 37.4% by 2026.
By comparison, the total growth expectation for all occupations over that same time period is just 7%.
The median annual wage for home health aides in 2016 was $22,600, while personal care aides made $21,920 per year.
These wages, however, may still be a strong contributor to the industry’s turnover issues, as wages for the profession have either stagnated or barely kept up with inflation, according to the Paraprofessional Health Care Institute, Inc. (PHI).
Still, the overall growth of the home health and personal care aide occupation persists.
Last year, more than 2.9 million workers made up the nation’s entire home health and personal care aide workforce, with roughly 1.2 million workers expected to be added by 2026, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.
In total, employment in the health care and social assistance sector is expected to add roughly 4 million jobs in the next decade, which account for a third of all new jobs, according to the BLS report. Further, the share of health care and social assistance employment is projected to increase from 12.2% in 2016 to 13.8% in 2026, becoming the “largest major sector” in 2026.
Health care support occupations—including home health aides—are projected to be among the fastest growing occupational groups during the 2016–26 projections decade. The occupational group, in addition to health care practitioners and technical occupations, is projected to contribute about one-fifth of all new jobs by 2026, according to the BLS. The governmental agency attributes the growth to the aging Baby Boomer population, longer life expectancies and growing rates of chronic health conditions.
In total, this outlook could bode well for agencies, as many leverage education and training to combat the industry’s plight of caregiver turnover.
Written by Carlo Calma