Care Management Matters (June 2015) talk about the following barriers to recruitment and retention. Learn about these and more at our general meeting which looks at making care a career choice.

Over 1.5m people currently work in the care sector in the UK and as the population ages, the demands for care and employees will increase. However, the health and social care sector have experienced challenges in recent years as a result of austerity measures in the public sector which has had implications for the pay and pensions of those working in the sector. With growing demands and fewer resources, the issue of workforce planning has become increasingly critical.

 Research commissioned by the Borough of Poole and The Dorset Better Together Programme and carried out by Bournemouth University’s National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work and Professional Practice has explored some of the barriers to employment and how they can be tackled. As expected, care sector employees and employers reported a range of issues which have a negative impact on staff recruitment and retention, including low levels of pay, increasing demands placed on workers, the lack of clear, career progression paths and negative media perceptions of care work.

However, the research showed that a significant barrier to recruitment and retention of workers is the perceived vulnerability of staff and their culpability should an unexpected incident relating to risk or safeguarding occur. In a context of increased regulation and quality monitoring, unqualified care staff can feel vulnerable to allegations made against them, especially as this can result in immediate suspension which has significant personal financial implications.

 As difficult as the current situation appears, Lead Researcher Dr Lee-Ann Fenge believes that it does not need to remain this way, ‘At a national level, more needs to be done to value those who work in the care sector by highlighting the benefits and rewards of care sector employment and not just the negative aspects of this type of work. Raising the status of the care sector through the provision of career progression pathways, clear qualification requirements, and enhanced pay levels would help to inspire future workers to join the sector.’

David Smallacombe says “Nominating staff for the prestigious Care and Support West 2017 Care Awards is another way of raising the status of the sector locally and of rewarding individual members of your staff”