Business As Usual

Sheila Marcelo: Care is an economic imperative

Kathleen A. Martin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Governments should work on putting policies  for caregivers in place as the increase  in global demand for  care workers  is expected   to  continue,  Filipino entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Care.com Sheila Marcelo said.

Marcelo, speaking during one of the sessions at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit, stressed the importance of “care” as an economic imperative.

“Why do I call care an economic imperative? Because today in the US alone, $280 billion is being spent on child and senior care…. Secondly, it’s often the most expensive item now for dual income families in the US. It’s actually higher than home and mortgage and even more expensive than transportation or college,” Marcelo explained.

Marcelo is the founder of Care.com, a website that helps families find care for children, the elderly, or the sick.

Care is often seen as a “soft issue,” she explained, but it has a fundamental importance in society that will create far reaching benefits.

Marcelo explained the “soaring senior care crisis” in the US is happening alongside a decreasing supply of care workers or caregivers, highlighting the need for more efforts to support the continuous provision of care where it is needed.

Marcelo said one of the reasons for the decline in the supply of caregivers is the lack of policies that would uphold their safety especially when they are   working outside their home countries.

“Studies show that a country’s GDP would increase with equal female participation in the workplace. In the US alone by nine percent, 13 percent in EU, and a full 16 percent in Japan,” Marcelo said.

Staying at home to care for children, seen in most parts of the world as traditionally a women’s role, is the biggest limitation to women’s participation in the workplace, she added.

“Women now are increasingly opting out. Deciding not to get married and have children. In Taiwan, the rate is now one out of three women, in Japan one out of five,” Marcelo said.

It affects supply because they are the primary source of caregivers, she said, adding the solution is that care services must scale and transcend borders as there is a global demand for it. “So what’s the solution? Care must transcend boundaries… My prediction is care will be an essential. There is a global marketplace for it,” Marcelo said.

Today, Care.com is the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care, with more than 17.8 million members across 16 countries.












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