Huge rise in care sector vacancies

Totaljobs Data shows vacancies increased by 84 per cent compare to last year

New data from Totaljobs reveals that that the number of job vacancies in the social care sector has increased by 84 per cent, compared to August 2020. The data, which evidences the extent of the sector’s labour shortages, follows the government’s announcement to reform health and social care.

With 13,000 social care vacancies advertised on Totaljobs.com in August alone, the sector’s long-standing staffing shortage appears to be worsening. In fact, recent research from The Work Foundation and Totaljobs revealed that the pandemic has overburdened existing staff, leaving one in seven (14 per cent) looking to leave the sector.

However, there is now a clear opportunity for government and employers to tackle this issue, with 31 per cent of the public being more likely to consider a career in the sector following the pandemic. Candidates who would consider a career in care are motivated by gaining satisfaction from making a difference (73 per cent), caring for others (72 per cent), and knowing they would feel proud to work in care (63 per cent).

As a result of this the Work Foundation and Totaljobs are calling for the upcoming social care whitepaper from the government to include a commitment from central and national governments to work with social care sector bodies and regulators to create a sector-wide, long-term strategy for recruitment, retention and development of social care workers, including the creation of a Continuing Professional Development framework.

Jon Wilson, CEO of Totaljobs commented: “The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the adult social care industry, leading people to be more open to pursuing a career in the sector. However, with vacancies remaining high, it’s clear that more positive perceptions of the industry won’t guarantee that people will click that apply button on a job ad and launch a long-term career in care.

“Alongside the support offered by government, care providers should look to tackle some of the enduring misconceptions of the industry, and craft messaging that speaks to the needs of young people in particular. The Government’s upcoming whitepaper must outline the steps that will be taken to specifically address recruitment and retention challenges.”

Ben Harrison, director at The Work Foundation added: “The government’s announcements are a first step in driving meaningful reforms in the care sector. Alongside a sustainable funding programme, we need to see a comprehensive workforce strategy that engages directly with service users, providers and workers alike, and puts issues like pay, progression and workforce wellbeing at its heart. Care workers play an increasingly vital role within our economy and society. We need to seize this opportunity to develop a sustainable strategy to support a thriving workforce in the future.”

The Work Foundation and Totaljobs recommend employers:
• Create opportunities for young people to build an understanding of care work. These could include taster days and work placements, developed through direct engagement with colleges and schools.
• Adopt a values-based approach to recruiting care workers, for example through using scenario-based questions, or group assessment days.
• Consult with their workforce to understand the rewards and benefits they would value most, and use this insight to develop a benefits package that aligns with staff preferences.

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