Skills for Care CEO Sharon Allen talks on tackling social care’s employment gap
Every year Skills for Care publishes ‘The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ report packed full of data and analysis that allows the Department of Health and Social Care, ADASS, LGA, trade bodies and other key sector voices, including the trade media, to make informed decisions about a whole range of key issues facing us.
This year we had a lot of media interest because the report revealed that the number of vacancies in adult social care on any given day is around 110,000 – which is increase of 19% – since we last published the report.
We need to fill a number of jobs around the size of the crowd at Wembley Stadium, so we have a challenge to fill thousands of posts with talented new people who have the core personal values we need.
And if you thought that was a challenge we also estimate that to meet future demand we will need to fill around 650,000 extra job roles by 2035. Or, put it another way, another five Wembley stadiums.
As you might imagine we are, as part of the Cavendish Coalition, monitoring the debate about how the country will manage our immigration regime in a post-Brexit world with great interest. However, the reality is that regardless of the outcome of Brexit, we need to focus on recruiting many, many more people who are already living here.
One initiative that will help is the upcoming national recruitment campaign being launched by the Department of Health and Social Care later this year. This campaign from the Government will help give people a clear sense of the reward and challenges of working in our sector.
But we also need to be ready when those potential new recruits start to engage with employers. One thing we have been putting a lot work into is trying to support employers to think about the potential of people that may have been previously overlooked or disregarded. This work sits alongside our values-based recruitment work because we all want to attract people with core personal values like respect for others, compassion and great communication skills to join our people-based sector, which offers them huge personal and professional satisfaction.
We know this strategy works, as staff turnover for those employers is 6.4% less than the sector average because they do find the right people and keep them. We also know there is an estimated £1.23 return on every pound invested in values based recruitment.
On a strategic level I’m hopeful the forthcoming Social Care Green Paper will offer some new thinking on how we properly reward workers for the demanding work they do. Employers often tell us pay is one of the barriers to people deciding to become care workers and this remains a key issue we really need to focus on solving.
Knowledge is power so the fact that we can use quality data to see the scale of the challenges helps us put measures in place to address them. This is a big task and ultimately when we get it right, the people we support in our communities are the ones that benefit.