As a consequence of an ageing population in Europe and an increasing request for work-life balance, in the future, growing numbers of people will need better and broader health and social care. This is a key driver of the growing demand for social services. Moreover, the role of social services is all the more crucial in times of crisis as they not only represent a source of employment generation but are also a strategic tool for strengthening social cohesion and active inclusion.
The opportunities for job creation in the social services sector are significant but an EU policy framework still needs to be developed in order to fully exploit its employment potential. It is crucial to identify and remove obstacles which continue to prevent the creation of more and better jobs, such as increasing shortages of qualified health professionals and social workers; skills development which insufficiently responds to the changing health and social care patterns and the growing importance of new technologies.
There is therefore a need to invest in health and social care services in a structural way. Active recruitment plans and strategies to train and retain staff are necessary. Social dialogue and collective bargaining need to be strengthened to achieve quality employment in the sector.
Social Services Europe, together with other partners, is now carrying out a project on Promoting Employers’ Social Services Organsiations in Social Dialogue (+ link to PESSIS section) which aims at identifying mail labour issues in the sector and in the long-term at establishing a representative platform at European level for employers in the social services sector and the creation of a sectoral social dialogue committee at European level.