Interest in a career in the senior living industry is closely and directly linked with awareness and familiarity with senior living, according to the results of a new survey published by Argentum and conducted by national polling firm ORC International.

Two-thirds of respondents who had firsthand experience with senior living would recommend it for a family member who needed assistance, while one in three without that experience would do so, according to the findings that were released at the Argentum Workforce Development Symposium at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, this week. One in three respondents with that firsthand experience would consider a career in the industry, compared to 13% of those without firsthand experience.

“The survey results reveal that successful workforce development in senior living will require an effective communications strategy to raise awareness and create familiarity with what senior living is and what it offers, especially among the youngest cohorts entering the workforce,” said Argentum President & CEO James Balda.

Familiarity with senior living also clearly influences expectations about specific aspects of working in the industry. Respondents with firsthand experience consistently responded differently about various factors relating to day to day job satisfaction as well as broader career- oriented issues.

Other key findings:

Most people do not think much, if at all, about senior living until circumstances push them to seek assistance for themselves, a family member or loved one. By the time many people experience that situation, they may be well established in a career or even nearing retirement age.  Ensuring that senior living is an industry of choice for qualified workers will require effective, sustained action on a number of fronts including public policy and legislation, academic programming and certification, investment in training and development opportunities as well as professional credentialing to elevate the status of the profession and provide standard qualifications.

The survey, sponsored by OnShift, included responses from 801 adults ages 18 to 64 who self-selected from participation from across the United States. The full report is available to Argentum members for free and to nonmembers for a fee.

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