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Care Recruitment - The Perfect Storm?

Dark clouds have been gathering over the care recruitment sector for a while. And now, a new Government campaign could simply add to the issues for recruiters.

‘Every Day is Different’, it’s called. A £3 million recruitment campaign launched by the Government in February to highlight the rewards of a career in adult social care. “Care is a vocation where you can transform people’s lives and every day is different to the next”, said Care Minister Caroline Dinenage about its launch.

Very true – but while encouraging people to think about it as a career is to be welcomed, the truth is recruiters are finding there are deep-rooted problems in addressing staff shortages across the UK. And it’s set to become a full-blown crisis, as several issues coincide (hence the perfect storm).

It’s estimated that, as our ageing population grows, an extra 650,000 workers will be needed by 2035. Around 1.45 million people already work in social care and the new campaign is to address an immediate need for 100,000 extra staff promoting roles such as carer in a nursing home, activities co-ordinator in the community, hospital occupational therapist and personal assistant in someone’s home.

But while the new campaign pushes the emotional rewards of working in care, the actual rewards are sorely lacking.

Pay and conditions are poor – these are jobs that require a level of skill, hard work and dedication, yet in February 2018 the average care worker's pay was just £7.82 an hour (the National Minimum Wage now stands at £7.83). Little wonder then that staff turnover in the sector is 30.7% - twice the national average – with about 400,000 social care workers leaving every year.

Years of cuts to local authority budgets haven’t helped, of course, and while the Government promised reforms to pay and conditions two years ago they have yet to materialise, with the long-awaited green paper still to be published.

But there are even more worrying signs on the horizon. Currently, one in six roles in the care sector is filled by overseas staff, so leaving the EU will undoubtedly have an impact. In fact, the proposed crackdown on low skilled workers after Brexit could create 380,000 vacancies over the next decade, simply adding to the problem.

So while there’s clearly plenty of demand for care professionals, recruiters are likely to struggle to fill those roles for some time to come – and the latest publicity campaign is unlikely to make much difference, until a co-ordinated, coherent strategy is in place for the health workforce as a whole.

Is it doomed to failure then? We’ll have to wait and see…but in the meantime, we’d love to know what you think. Just comment on Twitter, LinkedIn or drop us a quick email at



Janine Ambrose, Business Development Manager

Back Office Support Services

01260 280 290