Workforce Displacement and Re-employment During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Direct Care Workforce Recruitment and Retention

Authors: Stephen McCall, MPA | Kezia Scales, PhD | Joanne Spetz, PhD

Topics: COVID-19, Nursing, Staffing, Workforce Demand, Workforce Supply

Research Center: UCSF Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care

October 20, 2021

Demand is rising for direct care workers (including personal care aides, home health aides, and nursing assistants), but recruitment and retention challenges are widespread. While the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated these challenges, it has also created a new labor pool of millions of workers who have been displaced from occupations with similar entry-level requirements. However, little is known about whether and how these displaced workers could be re-employed in direct care jobs.

This report explores how direct care workers and workers from similar entry-level occupations became unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic; to what extent the skills of displaced workers align with those of direct care occupations; and how many displaced workers re-entered the workforce (including into direct care jobs) within the following year.

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