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Argentum's Socioeconomic Portrait of Today’s Senior Living Employee

June 19, 2018 | James Balda

A socioeconomic portrait of today's senior living employeesSenior living is a labor-intensive industry with a nearly one-to-one ratio of employees to residents. We all know recruitment challenges lie ahead as the number of aging Americans grows, so we need to know who our employees are, where they come from, and their challenges and opportunities.

Thanks to OnShift’s support as our workforce development partner, Argentum analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data from 2016 on over 7,000 individuals who self-identified as working in senior living. The analysis provides a snapshot of the senior living workforce and shares the latest insight into the backgrounds of our valued employees.


From the analysis, some important industry trends came to light:

While it is well-documented that women make up the majority of the senior living workforce, Argentum’s analysis revealed that women also hold the majority of management jobs with a nearly 70 percent share.

  • We can be proud of the opportunities for women to succeed in our industry. We also need to be mindful of broader societal issues such as pay disparity and workplace harassment, and ensure we offer a fully inclusive and welcoming workplace.

The percentage of black women in those management positions is also greater than that represented in the overall national labor force.

  • There is strength in our diversity. We need to continue to support our workers and offer opportunities for career development and advancement.

Younger employees age 16-24 also made up nearly one-quarter of food service workers, likely due to part-time employment opportunities for students enrolled in high school and college.

  • Our multigenerational workforce creates its own opportunities and challenges. We need to do all we can to attract workers who desire a “do good” work culture and ensure our high-performing workers can thrive and grow throughout their careers.

A portion of Argentum’s analysis is available in the Argentum Senior Living Employee white paper, a complimentary resource. An expanded employee profile with more details on geographical, economic, and social trends is available to Argentum members in Argentum Quarterly Issue 1 2018; members can download the full report at argentum.org/aq.


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About James Balda

James Balda is a guest author for OnShift’s blog and the President and CEO of Argentum, the largest national association exclusively dedicated to senior living communities and the seniors and families they serve.

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