The caring profession is demanding — both physically and emotionally. Low salaries and zero-hours contracts are commonplace, and while many carers find their jobs fulfilling, recruiters often find it challenging to attract people to the caring profession.
It’s expected that the social care industry will need at least another 650,000 workers (with some estimates closer to 1.2 million) by 2035. The increased demand is due in large part to the UK’s ageing population, but there’s a bigger problem — current care workers are leaving the profession in droves. Younger workers don’t even have caring on their career radars.
Thankfully, there’s no shortage of talented professionals with the values and the skills to become great carers. All you need to do is change up your approach. So, let’s look at some common carer recruitment challenges and how you can solve them.
How to tackle carer recruitment challenges
Challenge #1 – You can’t attract enough people to the role
Many care providers find that they don’t get enough applications for the positions they advertise.
As a result, providers may end up hiring candidates who aren’t such a good fit – which causes bigger problems further down the line.
The solution: Offer a more appealing package and widen your net
Carers enjoy the feeling that they are making a difference in people’s lives. Highlighting this aspect of the role is essential when attracting candidates to apply. But care workers want more than this.
You have to understand what care workers want to put together an appealing package when it comes to other perks and benefits. So survey your current team! Find out what they value so you can highlight these benefits to prospective candidates.
You might also like to widen your net, recruiting from groups and places you may not have considered before.
Challenge #2 – Candidates drop out at the last minute
You do a great job getting people to apply for your latest carer role. But then — right before the interview — a bunch of candidates drop out of the carer recruitment process.
Why do you get dropouts?
Candidates may lose interest in the role or find an opportunity with another company. They may hear negative things about the caring profession from friends or family.
Whatever the reason, you waste a lot of time and money when you don’t manage to guide candidates to the end of your recruitment process.
The solution: Maintain good candidate communication
You can limit the number of no-shows you get by reducing the amount of time it takes for a candidate to progress from application to job offer.
Another good solution? Try to maintain open channels of communication throughout the recruitment process.
That way, your recruitment team can respond to any questions or concerns about the role as they arise.
Nurture candidates in your pipeline by sending personalised emails and keeping them up to speed with any developments.
And if you’re still getting dropouts, be sure to follow up. Finding out a candidate’s reasons for exiting the process can help you make informed improvements.
Challenge #3 – A lack of young people applying for carer roles
Younger people aren’t always aware of the jobs on offer within the care sector — they don’t know that these jobs exist or what working in the care industry is like.
Those who are aware of the caring profession aren’t always confident that it offers long-term career opportunities. TotalJobs found that 56% of Generation Z workers wouldn’t consider caring as a career.
The solution: Communicate in the ways, and on the topics, that Gen Z care about
Gen Z (people aged between 16 and 24) are digital natives. So reach out to them on social media. Facebook is old-fashioned in their eyes, so opt for platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
There are also a number of things that Gen Z will be looking for in a job ad. In particular, Gen Z wants to work with companies who share their values and support their goals. So, you might like to highlight:
- Any learning and development opportunities you provide as part of the role
- Any opportunities for progression
- The altruistic nature of the role — the fact that carers can really make a difference in someone’s life
- The fact that you value diversity in the workplace
Challenge #4 – There’s a lack of diversity in the workplace
Diversity in the workplace is good for society. But it’s also good for business. When you make your workplace attractive to a wide range of people, you’ll find it easier to hire and retain staff.
Nevertheless, care providers often find that they’re falling behind when it comes to diversity. Deloitte found that three out of four care workers they surveyed felt people in their organisations didn’t have the same opportunities for advancement based on their gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, or other protected characteristics.
The solution: Work on your DEI performance
There are many ways to improve minority representation within the care and healthcare sectors.
Start by assessing your current DEI performance – in terms of recruitment, organisational culture and staff retention. Then identify problem areas and set DEI targets.
You might like to increase the number of diverse candidates you choose to interview. Or commit to improving the diversity of your leadership team. To make your teams more inclusive, you might want to conduct diversity training.
When your workplace is more diverse and inclusive, you’ll find carer recruitment that bit easier.
Challenge #5 – You can’t get staff to stick around
Many care providers manage to hire staff. However, they experience high staff turnover rates, which means they’re constantly having to spend time and money recruiting new team members.
Solution: Find the right people, value your staff, and give a realistic picture of the role
Working in the care sector can be challenging, so it makes sense that the care providers can have high turnover rates. But if yours is too high, there are three main areas to focus on: recruiting the right kinds of workers, setting expectations, and valuing your employees.
It’s easy to say, ‘Recruit the right people,’ but it’s a lot harder to actually do. Start by determining what ‘great’ looks like. What skills (hard and soft) does a candidate need to succeed in caring?
If you’re hiring people who burn out from the job’s demands, look for more resilient people. If you’re getting applicants interested in caring because they’ve briefly cared for a friend or family member, really dig into why they want to make caring a career. If you can start with the right shortlist of candidates, everything else gets easier.
Employers should also clearly describe what the job entails from the very start of the recruitment process. That way, all new recruits start work with realistic expectations. Skills for Care found that care providers with less than 20% staff turnover were clear about the realities of their open positions.
Finally, care providers should also make every effort to show that they value staff by offering the proper training, support, and praise. People are much happier to work hard when they’re confident that their efforts are appreciated. And 59% of carers said that feeling more valued by their employer would enhance their careers.
With these tips in hand, you’ll be able to push through carer recruitment challenges. But if you’re looking for a little more help, partner with crooton! Our fixed price service and recruitment tech solutions make finding the right people for your organisation effortless, and we have plenty of experience in the health and care sector.
Get in touch today to find out more about our services.