The government has pledged to highlight rewarding career opportunities in adult social care in its latest recruitment campaign, which launches today.
The ‘Made with Care’ campaign will run across, broadcast and social media until March 2022, telling the public “there’s no better time to become a care worker” and encourage them to pursue a career with “variety” and “flexible hours”.
It comes at a time when social care providers are facing their worst staffing crisis in history, with many not able to take on new clients in need of care.
Recent Skills for Care data shows that on average 6.8% of roles in adult social care were vacant in 2020/21, which is equivalent to 105,000 vacancies being advertised on any given day.
Turnover rates across the sector remain high, at 28.5% in 2020/21. This figure had decreased during the pandemic, but since March 2021 many employers reported that retention is now more difficult than before the pandemic.
Launching the campaign, Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid (pictured) said: “Care workers have done a phenomenal job throughout the pandemic, in difficult circumstances, and I thank them for all they have done.
“A career in social care is rewarding and inspiring. Over the next three years we are investing at least £500 million to support the training and development for carers.
“We need more people who possess the core values this workforce embody so strongly – kindness, compassion and resilience – to look after our friends and family with dignity and respect.”
But many leaders in social care believe this funding doesn’t go far enough in addressing poor pay, terms and conditions of employment which limit growth and development of the workforce.
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group (ICG), said “whilst one department does its best to bring people into care, others are doing their damnedest to do the opposite and pulling the rug from underneath the campaign before it has even begun”.
The ICG highlighted that the government’s mandatory COVID jab policy, Brexit and historic underfunding had forced many out of the sector.
UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said improving pay was the way to solve the social care staffing crisis.
“If the government is serious about recruitment, its first move should be to ensure care workers get a decent pay rise,” Christina said.
“Any ad campaign pushing a job without sick pay, where poor treatment and exploitation are rife, will struggle to succeed.”