Skills for Care Interim CEO Andy Tilden urges care home providers to back the second phase of the government’s national social care recruitment campaign
When we recently published our ‘The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, 2019’ report, one of the most of the sobering statistics was that the numbers of vacancies our sector has on any given day had increased to 122,000.
That increase from 110,000 is partly driven by the increase in demand for services, but we know from talking to our sector’s 18,500 employers that recruiting and retaining their staff remains their main concern.
Now it’s true that the report also shows that many of those vacancies are filled by people moving around the sector. But the reality is that still means every day we need to find thousands of new people to join our sector.
The report also tells us we will need to fill another 580,000 job roles by 2035 if the workforce grows in line with the population of those aged 65 taking the workforce to over two million in a relatively short space of time.
So our recruitment and retention problem remains a high priority right across the sector. One contributing factor is our ongoing struggle in attracting more men and young people into the sector. The latest data reveals only 17% of the workforce are male, and 9% are under 25 years old.
We are not helped by the outdated myths that social care isn’t a highly skilled job and has little prospects. That sort of tired nonsense is frustrating when I know the reality can be the exact opposite. I began my working life as a residential care worker at the end of 1979 and would not have wished for a better career.
That’s why the second phase of the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) national campaign is timely. One of the campaign’s aims is to inspire people to apply for jobs in adult social care by improving awareness and understanding of what the challenges and rewards of working in social care actually are.
Last year’s campaign generated 97% more searches for jobs containing ‘care’ or ‘care worker’ and one in four (26%) care employers surveyed saw an increase in either enquiries, applications, interviews or vacancies filled.
Skills for Care is encouraging all 18,500 social care employers to get involved in the campaign that we hope will encourage motivated people with the right values to come forward to fill those 122,000 vacancies.
Advertising using real life images and messages will be promoted across outdoor posters, online TV adverts, radio, social media and digital channels. That will be supported by PR and partnership activity to highlight the personal and professional rewards of working in a growing sector.
We are not pretending any of this is easy as there are varied reasons why people do not choose to work in social care so we will continue to share practical advice and guidance so your recruitment processes can effectively convert a new pool of interested people into recruits. Keep an eye at www.skillsforcare.org.uk/randr for more information.
And the key, and most important, driver will be that if we find and keep more people with the right values then those you work with will benefit from being supported by well trained and highly motivated workers.