Engaging with and attracting early talent into social care is essential for succession planning.
By Amanda Marques, Business Solutions Director, Cohesion
It is estimated that 24% of all social care workers are aged over 551 and will retire gradually over the next ten years, creating around 320,000 job vacancies within the care industry. One way for care organisations to tackle this issue before it becomes a serious crisis, is to start attracting early talent into social care job roles.
Care organisations need to acknowledge the benefits of attracting young people earlier. This includes promoting the exciting career options available with the sector, as well as engaging with young people much earlier on in the decision-making process. There are currently an estimated 760,000 young people (16 to 24 years) not in employment, education or training (NEET)2 – couldn’t some of these fill the current 110,000 vacancies in the care sector3?
So, what can care organisations do to attract this young audience?
Be innovative in your recruitment strategy
Employers need to consider different ways to interest this age group. Different aspects of the job will appeal more to a younger workforce, so it is important to tailor job adverts and recruitment strategies to attract younger candidates. Try introducing social media advertising and develop relationships with local schools and colleges. You can do this by giving assembly talks and hosting stands at careers fairs, all of which can be a great way to interact directly with potential employees. Try using your young employees to act as ambassadors and showcase how rewarding and successful a career in care can be. Changing application processes to suit a younger target is also advisable. Make applications simple to fill out and send off – limiting time-consuming forms which need posting. Consider changing the language used in your adverts to attract 16-24-year olds – make it less-formal and consider listing desired skills rather than qualifications so that it removes any barriers to allow a wider candidate pool.
Use ‘values-based recruitment’ in your hiring process
Values-based recruitment (VBR) takes a holistic approach to the hiring process and helps employers to find the right candidates with the right skills for the role who will provide a high level of care. Research completed by Skills for Care found that on average employee turnover was 5.6% lower for employers using a values-based approach to recruitment, compared to the traditional approach4. VBR allows employers to assess the values, behaviours and attitudes of a candidate, rather than having the necessary qualifications and/or direct work experience. The staff you want to hire should be compassionate, responsible and empathetic. Interview questions should ask candidates to give examples of ways their personality and behaviour reflects these skills; this could include caring for a relative or friend, volunteering for a local charity etc. Although it does take more effort to begin with, there are many benefits to switching to this type of recruitment strategy. It has a positive impact on staff retention, as well as improving the quality of care within a care organisation.
Work with local schools and colleges
Children and teenagers need to be made aware of a career to aspire to work in that particular industry. If organisations aren’t reaching out to young children promoting different career paths, they may not hear about these opportunities until it’s too late. Care organisations are approaching young people of school-leaver or university age, but by this time many have already decided on their immediate future. If the sector wants to see an increase in the number of 16-24-year olds applying for roles, we must focus on educating the future generation on the options available in social care before they have made their decisions. Many Health and Social Care college courses require students to complete a minimum number of hours work experience within a social care setting before qualifying. Build bridges with local schools and colleges creating mutually beneficial relationships; these could be your future employees!
- Skills for Care, recruitment and retention in adult social care: secrets of success (2017).