100k Family Carers Underutilized in Irish Workforce: 18.5 Hour Contracts Could Help Alleviate Skills Shortage

As the Irish economy continues to grow, so does the need for skilled workers. However, a valuable resource for addressing the skills shortage is being underutilized: Family Carers.

According to the *Family Carers Ireland: The State of Caring 2022 report, there are approximately 500,000 Family Carers in Ireland who provide full-time care for a loved one. Many of these carers have had to leave their professions and careers and have a range of skills and experience that could be put to use in the workforce, but they are often unable to commit to full-time employment due to their caregiving responsibilities.

One solution to this issue is the introduction of 18.5 hour contracts for Family Carers. These contracts, which allows some carers to work a part-time schedule while still receiving the **Carers Allowance payment from the state, would enable carers to use their skills and qualifications in the workforce while still meeting their caregiving obligations.

Not only would such contracts benefit carers and their families, they would also help to address the skills shortage facing Irish businesses. Family Carers are teachers, engineers, accountants who have had to give up full time employment to care for a sick or ageing loved one at home.  By tapping into the talent and experience of Family Carers, companies could access a reliable and skilled workforce that could help to drive their businesses forward.

If you are a Family Carer looking to enter the workforce or an employer interested in hiring from this part time workforce, contact Count On Us Recruitment. This Irish social enterprise specializes in connecting carers with job opportunities that fit their skills and availability.

Fiona O’Neill, founder of Count On Us Recruitment commented by saying:

“We are part of the solution to Ireland’s recruitment crisis by facilitating employers that are looking to fill part-time vacancies with skilled professionals. Our name, ‘Count On Us Recruitment’, salutes the valuable contributions that full time carers can make as employees and reflects the reliable recruitment service that we provide to both carers and employers across Ireland.”

It is estimated that carers in Ireland save the State in excess of €20 billion every year.** They look after those who are ill, have dementia or have a disability in their familiar home environment and the work they do reduces the pressure on state services, such as hospital beds and nursing homes.

In recent times, companies have become more open to flexible working arrangements, such as offering the option to fulfil a part-time contract by working two full weekdays or 3.5 hours per weekday. In being open to different types of contacts, it means carers with a range of skills and backgrounds, from accountants to teachers, can continue to provide value to businesses and participate in the workforce.

Speaking about their experience with Count On Us Recruitment, Clodagh Guerin, Foundation Manager from jumpAgrade, commented:

“Fiona from Count On Us Recruitment reached out to me to see how we could work together to help jumpAgrade fill some of our teaching roles. It was a special conversation, and immediately I wanted to explore any ways in which we could collaborate going forward. After putting the call out to the Family Carer network, we hired an amazing teacher who quickly became an invaluable addition to the jumpAgrade teaching team.”

Family Carers are a valuable but underutilized resource in the Irish workforce. The introduction of 18.5 hour contracts could help to alleviate the skills shortage while also supporting carers and their families.

* Family Carers Ireland https://familycarers.ie/media/2545/family-carers-ireland-state-of-caring-2022.pdf

**Carers Allowance (citizensinformation.ie) https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/social_welfare/social_welfare_payments/carers/carers_allowance.html