The shortage of home health aides in the industry is no secret, but the exact pace of demand will far exceed the supply of health care workers over the next few years, according to a new report from Mercer.
The number of new job openings for home health aides by 2025 is expected to reach 423,200, a growth rate of 32%. While that high demand is supported by other research, the expected workforce gap will also hit negative-446,300 workers by 2025, according to the report from Mercer, a human resources consulting firm.
This huge gap is an enormous risk factor in the health care continuum, with the total health care industry accounting for 2.3 million new jobs. More than half of new jobs forecast by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or 1.6 million, will come from personal care aides, home health aides and some types of nurses, according to the report.
“Simply put, Americans are getting older and less active, driving more of a need for home health and personal care aides across the country,” the report reads.
The workforce gap of the future will likely be compounded by the typically low pay across in-home care settings.
“The national average hourly rate for nursing assistants, home health aides and personal aides has stagnated at $10.11, a few cents lower than a decade ago, making recruitment more difficult,” the report said.
Not to mention, low pay increases turnover across caregivers.
However, the geographic distribution of demand is not equal across the country – with all states needing more home health aides.
Beyond home health aides, some states appear to be relatively well-positioned with regard to other types of in-demand health care workers, such as registered nurses. Illinois, for one, is likely to have a surplus of 27,000 registered nurses through 2025 as a result of the trend of residents leaving Illinois; Chicago was the only major U.S. city to see a population decline in Mercer’s analysis. Conversely, Texas will be short nearly 27,000 RNs, as the state experiences steady population growth and favorable demographics.
States are already reacting to these projected needs, with Texas allowing more community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in needed occupations like nursing, according to Mercer.
Written by Amy Baxter