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Hiring advice

Struggling to recruit care staff? How to find quality carers


Social care organisations across the UK are struggling to recruit care staff. The number of unfilled care job vacancies was at a staggering 52% at the end of 2022, the highest since records began. 

There are currently an estimated 165,000 posts unfilled, and Care England – the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care – found that over 95% of their members were struggling to recruit and retain staff.

Despite these disheartening figures, there are plenty of skilled workers looking for new opportunities. It is more important than ever to review and fine tune your recruitment strategy to ensure you are reaching the right candidates with an employment offer or work culture that exceeds your peers.  

7 tips to help you find quality care staff

  1. Ensure your job spec is inclusive and attracting diverse candidates

Many people are put off from applying for certain jobs because they think they don’t fit the role or workplace perfectly, and certain language deters them. 

If you are struggling to recruit care staff, it’s important to ensure your job advert speaks to everyone, particularly underrepresented groups. Take steps to encourage a diverse range of applicants to apply by removing gender-specific terms or guaranteeing interviews to under-represented groups. 

Job adverts which include a close-ended amount of experience – such as ‘three to five years’ experience required – or jargon such as requesting ‘digital natives’ can put off workers who might feel over or under qualified.

  1. Get your vacancies in front of the right audience

To maximise your job applications you need to ensure your ad is seen by as many relevant people as possible. You can consider physical job posters, posting your jobs on online job boards, sharing job vacancies on social media and using a specialist health care recruitment agency. One of the biggest benefits of using a healthcare recruitment agency is accessing an existing network of care staff. Agencies have connections with care staff in and out of work which means attracting a wider pool of fully qualified and vetted candidates.

Whilst established agencies have a diverse range of potential candidates for roles, but you can also use job sites and forums which span different age groups, cultures and genders, to find new candidates that could be a good fit for your vacancy. You might also want to consider sharing the job advert in front of people from different industries who could have transferable skills, such as customer service, patience and working under pressure.

  1. Consider your employee benefits

Pay is often a big barrier to the social care workforce, with people looking for more lucrative career options. But there are so many ways employers can recruit and retain quality care staff, whilst offering excellent benefits packages.

Flexible working is valued highly, so consider how you can help your employees manage their work life balance, while maintaining high levels of patient care.

Free meals, local discounts, a high-quality employee assistance programme, free eye tests and reduced-price travel tickets can also be appealing. Most importantly, create a culture where people are cared for, supported and appreciated.

  1. Address concerns with the industry

There is seemingly no end to the negative news stories about the care crisis in the UK, especially in the aftermath of Covid 19. Instead of shying away from what is being discussed on the news, confront it with honesty and address how your organisation is tackling problems such as long hours, understaffing and insufficient funding. 

Track and share good news from within your organisation so that potential candidates can see improvements being made within the industry.

Remember it can be a worrying time for family and loved ones of those requiring quality care. If you’re struggling to find permanent care staff, why not consider using a care agency to provide quality vetted temporary care staff to help reduce any down time in your operation.

  1. Offer apprenticeships

Social care organisations are finding recruitment increasingly challenging, so consider long-term solutions such as offering apprenticeships so that people can learn on the job. 

Whether you are looking to attract school leavers or those looking for a change in environment or career, apprenticeships are a great way of developing new talent and building a reputation for investing and nurturing your employees.

  1. Refine your job adverts

Recruiters and job advert sites are able to tell you how many people have clicked on your advert but not applied, often referred to as an adverts ‘bounce rate’.

If you’re failing to get applicants, rework the advert to make it more appealing to job hunters. Prioritise what people will get out of the role as well as opportunities for progression and development. 

If you have the flexibility to consider someone who might have the personality for the role but not the professional experience, flag that you are also looking for new industry starters with strong transferable skills.

  1. Re-evaluate your brand presence

The first thing many people do when they see an appealing job advert is to look a little deeper into the company. If people are met with a confusing website, inactive social media pages, or negative ratings online from previous employees these are all key turns offs.

Make sure the website is appealing, informative, clearly sets out company values and includes details on the company culture as well as employee testimonials. 

Most importantly, ensure current staff are treated fairly and with respect, making it more likely that they’ll share vacancies with their contacts as and when they arise.

Looking for a more efficient way to solve your staffing needs?

If you are struggling to recruit care staff there’s an easier way to fill your vacancies. 

Our team of specialist healthcare recruiters have a wealth of experience in all aspects of health and social care. We can provide you with skilled and experienced workers across a wide range of industries, from support workers, to complex care staff. 

If you need support finding experienced care staff, please let us know about your requirements so we can help you with your search.

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