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Flexibility is key to male recruitment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Apparently there’s a dearth of male care workers among the scarcity of care workers in general, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone because gender stereotyping runs deep. I know what I’m talking about here because I used to be a nurse.

It is a real shame because, just as women make excellent lorry drivers, so men can make excellent care workers; their greater physical strength makes them more confident and paradoxically more gentle when lifting and handling frail elderly people. Also, in all the complexities of human relationships, a man’s life experience can enable him to get closer to some of the residents who otherwise might find it difficult, in some way ‘unmanly’ or inappropriate, to confide their anxieties to a woman. As a nurse I was often asked to go and have a quiet chat with an anxious male patient, be he 17 or 70.

Remuneration has ever been the big deterrent for younger men; how can someone support a partner looking after infants at home on a care worker’s wages? Not so much of an issue for an older chap (or woman, but I’m talking about men here) whose children have grown up and this is where I think providers and their associations should focus their efforts in male recruitment.

Where I live, and I am sure everywhere else, there are many community service groups such as Lions, Rotary and so on, whose members are dead keen to help others; they are natural carers. They have time on their hands and they would make brilliant care workers. But 12-hour shifts they don’t want; like their female colleagues, they want job-sharing and flexibility, and that seems to be a nut that care homes have yet to crack.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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