The male workforce in intellectual disability services.

Roy McConkey, Patricia McAuley, Leanne Simpson, Suzanne Abbott

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Staff shortages are predicted in community social care sector services for people with intellectual disabilities (ID). Oneoption is to attract more men to the workforce, which would also counter the present sex-ratio (gender) imbalance among workers.Potential strategies for recruitment could be identified by analyzing the characteristics and experiences of the male staff currentlyemployed in such jobs. To do this, the authors undertook three studies: (1) a census of 653 staff in statutory services within one Healthand Social Services Board district in Northern Ireland; (2) a survey of 463 staff from both statutory and nonstatutory services; and(3) small sample focus groups with designated male staff. Findings were that fewer than 1 in 5 of the workforce in ID sector servicesin Northern Ireland were men, with significant variance (0–40%) depending upon the type of services. Men were more likely thanwomen to be in full-time posts; to be the main wage-earner in the household, and to have entered ID sector jobs from noncaresettings.Male staff reported that their motivation for undertaking work in this sector was often questioned by peers and that they feltexposed to accusations of abuse. Authors conclude that male staff recruitment could be boosted by increased pay and moreopportunities for full-time work and career progression. Career advisers, teachers, and parents need to promote the value andopportunities of work available in ID sector services. The unique contributions of male staff also need to be identified and recognizedas a means of retaining existing staff and recruiting others.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)186-193
    JournalJournal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2007


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