The social care sector has always faced challenges when it comes to recruitment, with high turnover and vacancy rates being commonplace. This can then have detrimental effects on the care provided to service users.
The turnover rate within the social care sector is currently 31% compared to the UK average of 15%. The vacancy rate is also high, currently 8%, compared to the UK average of 3%.
Some of the reasons for this include perceived low status and lower pay rates compared to other industries. These issues are only going to become more challenging in the future with the ageing population requiring more support. There is also an apparent lack of potential or willing candidates in the British labour market, meaning that the search for prospective staff must be widened to furth afield, resulting in more staff being recruited from overseas.
Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years of age will almost double, going from 12% to 22%.
As a result of this, governments are facing the need to resolve the recruitment and retention challenges being faced, to alleviate the negative impact on both the staff working in the sector as well as those they care for. One of the ways this can be helped is by making more funding available to the sector, which has traditionally always faced financial struggles while being required to provide higher quality of care and doing so to those with increasingly complicated needs.
The government is looking to have more social care recruitment drives to entice workers into the sector, along with making more information available to prospective workers as a lack of knowledge is also a perceived shortcoming. The drives will also be focussing on recruiting more men into these roles, as currently only around 18% of those working in the sector are male.
Education is also planned to be reviewed, as many post-16 qualifications for social care are only knowledge-based, or have a minimum skill-based element, meaning that many who do undertake these qualifications are left with little or no practical experience, leading to them not remaining in the industry. Technical qualifications are being introduced to meet this shortfall, so as learners can gain both practical experience and also the behaviours needed to remain and thrive while working in care. Apprenticeships are a common way of doing this, and can be highly beneficial to both employers and employees.
The government has previously pledged to making these changes, though the impact of the pandemic has caused a delay in planning and implementation.
We as a home welcome these proposed changes, as it can only mean higher quality care for our residents, as well as reduced turnover, which means we can invest in our staff and develop their skills for their own professional development.