It's time for social care to be bold when it comes to attracting younger talent
It is no secret that there is a recruitment crisis within the social care sector and recent statistics suggest that one million new care workers are needed by 20251to cope with the ageing population.
Statistics show that currently, 800,000 young people are not employed or in education2, and evidence suggests that by attracting these young people to apply for a role within your care setting, it can bring new, fresh ideas and different perspectives on caring for others as well as helping to plug this gap.
However, there seems to be a stigma around working in care which is preventing young people from applying for roles, this could be due to the lack of awareness and education around the career path available within care homes. This stigma really needs to go!
So, what can you do to attract young people into roles within your care home? Will Shepherd, CEO at Cohesion, provides his top recruitment tips:
Create a specific recruitment strategy solely focusing on young people –different aspects of the job attract different groups of people; therefore, recruitment plans should be tailored to various target audiences. Consider careers fairs, social media advertising and customise the recruitment process itself – tailoring your application process to be short and including language that appeals to younger people. Try removing barriers such as ‘minimum requirements’ and instead use ‘values-based techniques’ which better allows the candidates strengths to be recognised.
Work closely with schools and colleges – consider approaching local schools and colleges, especially those that teach a health and social care course by offering to share presentations to the students. This can include, talking about the benefits of working in the care sector and the career pathways available in your organisation. Consider offering work experience, this provides a chance for you to welcome young people into your homes for several hours a week, allowing them to gain a positive experience and a taste for working in the care sector. If they impress, you could offer them a guaranteed interview upon completing their studies. Of course, interaction with youngsters can start much earlier, with some organisations engaging with those as young as 5-years old! A visit to one of your homes, which allows for interaction with residents is a great opportunity that it often over-looked. Occasions such as Harvest Festival, Christmas and Easter are a perfect opportunity.
Engage parents and guardians – our experience of delivering early talent recruitment including sizable graduate and apprenticeship programmes has taught us how important it is to engage with parents and guardians. It is clear that parents have one of the greatest influences on their children’s careers – but do they know enough about the sector in order to encourage care as a rewarding career route? When recruiting young people, it is a good idea to create a section on your careers website for parents answering any typical questions they may have.
Use case studies on your website and social media – unsurprisingly the internet is an amazing platform to use when trying to gain the interest of young people. Social media sites can be used to advertise and emphasise the benefits of working in care - demonstrating that this career isn’t only for older generations but that there are huge opportunities for young people too. Under 25-year olds who are already working in care can be showcased on your website, through videos, and social media to act as ambassadors and give positive examples of how successful and rewarding working in care can be. Having young employees featured on your website can be a real selling point for future talent.
Make the job attractive to young people – highlighting the benefits of working in care is a great way to attract young people. Flexible hours, and the opportunity to earn a good wage are both great starting points. But from our findings, the most important element can be the opportunity of coming away at the end of a shift feeling that you have made a difference to someone’s day.
Showcase your employees’ achievements – award schemes targeting your ‘star’ employees can really have an impact. Not only will you identify current young key players in your business now, but you’ll demonstrate that you mean business when it comes to recognising your team’s achievements and saying ‘thank you’ – no matter what their age.