The government has pledged to highlight rewarding career opportunities in adult social care in its latest recruitment campaign, which launches today.
The ‘Made with Care’ campaign will run across broadcast and social media until March 2022, telling the public “there’s no better time to become a care worker” and encourage them to pursue a career with “variety” and “flexible hours”.
It comes at a time when social care providers are facing their worst staffing crisis in history, with many not able to take on new clients in need of care.
Recent Skills for Care data shows that on average 6.8% of roles in adult social care were vacant in 2020/21, which is equivalent to 105,000 vacancies being advertised on any given day.
Turnover rates across the sector remain high, at 28.5% in 2020/21. This figure had decreased during the pandemic, but since March 2021 many employers reported that retention is now more difficult than before the pandemic.
The CQC has also recently highlighted rising staff vacancy rates in social care, which have resulted in quality suffering and some providers having to hand back their registrations. It stressed that work needs to begin now in order to address the immediate problem of rising vacancy rates.
“While staffing is an issue for all sectors, we’re particularly concerned about adult social care. We’re seeing rising vacancy rates, some providers having to hand back their registrations as they don’t have enough staff to deliver care, and examples of quality suffering due to lack of staff,” CEO Ian Trenholm said.
Launching the campaign, Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “Care workers have done a phenomenal job throughout the pandemic, in difficult circumstances, and I thank them for all they have done.
“A career in social care is rewarding and inspiring. Over the next three years we are investing at least £500 million to support the training and development for carers.
“We need more people who possess the core values this workforce embody so strongly – kindness, compassion and resilience – to look after our friends and family with dignity and respect.”
The launch follows the announcement of £5.4 billion of additional funding for social care over the next three years, including £500 million to support training and career development for the workforce.
But many leaders in social care believe this funding doesn’t go far enough in addressing poor pay, terms and conditions of employment which limit growth and development of the workforce.
Tweeting about the latest recruitment campaign, Raina Summerson, CEO of Agincare said: “It’s good to see this commitment, but I hope it is better executed than previous attempts.
“One obvious issue is that [the government] is not enabling change to the root cause of much of the challenge: poor pay and conditions within current funding and commissioning structure.”
Dr Jane Townson, CEO of The Homecare Association, said: “Recruitment remains the hardest it’s ever been for providers, anything which can be done to help get more people into the workforce is welcomed.
“This is a crucial time for homecare. Recruiting and retaining staff is currently more challenging than ever. Inadequate government funding for social care over many years has led to poor pay, terms and conditions of employment and poor commissioning and procurement practices. Pressures during the pandemic have added to staff turnover, and losses could be further exacerbated if vaccination as a condition of deployment is implemented.
“We continue to call on the Government to invest adequately in homecare. The priority is to ensure homecare workers are paid fairly for the skilled roles they perform, and at least on a par with equivalent public sector roles. The Spending Review was another missed opportunity for adult social care.”
The recruitment campaign’s TV advert shows real care workers making a difference in people’s lives, inspiring others to consider a career in care. It will premiere today and run until 21 November on ITV, Sky and Channel 4.
Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care Deborah Sturdy said: “I have spent my career working to support others and want to ensure working in care is not just seen as a job but a career opportunity.
“You will meet and work with wonderful people and have the chance to make this is a career you want to stay in for the long term.
“There is the chance to be part of something very special and help both yourselves and others continue to develop a system made with care.”