Future-proofing the social care industry

Skills for Care predict the social care industry will need another 650,000 workers by the year 2035. Yet, new Totaljobs research reveals that one in three social carers plan to leave the industry within the next five years, meaning the sector could be facing a major staff deficit of over 1.2 million workers by 2024.

One in five social carers are currently searching for roles outside of the industry. The same number expect to leave within two years – the figure jumps to 57% for those looking to leave the industry within the next decade.

The staff shortage is exacerbated further, as few people would consider working in social care. Over half (56%) of Generation Z wouldn’t consider a career in the sector. 53% also state they’ve never discussed social care as a career option with teachers, parents or friends.

Generally, the UK population has favourable associations with the role social carers play in society. 90% of the UK’s general population believes social care is essential and the majority also note a profound respect for these workers. However, 67% of the population wouldn’t consider pursuing a social care career themselves. They cite low pay (42%), emotionally challenging work (41%) and perceived unappealing work (29%) as their reasons.

Boosting the careers of social carers

Current social carers pointed to actions they’d like to see their employers take, in order to enhance their careers and ultimately encourage them to remain in the social care industry.

Social carers point to the following as ways their careers can be enhanced:

  1. Feeling more valued by their employer (59%)
  2. An increase in salary (51%)
  3. Greater support from management (46%)
  4. Strong leadership (42%)
  5. Greater career progression (41%)
  6. More training and development opportunities (40%)
  7. More flexible working hours (37%)
  8. Reduced stress (35%)
  9. Job security and stability (31%)
  10. Funded qualification (28%)

Positively, 68% of social carers would recommend working in social care – even those who plan to leave the industry in the coming years. The majority are also passionate about the work they do, with 81% stating they are proud of their role. For social carers, the best parts of the job include the relationships they build (60%) and the ability to give back to society (58%).

There’s opportunity for employers to work with employees to add further value to their experience of working in social care, to boost retention. Alongside this, tapping into industries such as healthcare, retail and hospitality for candidates with transferable skills could help to boost the number of social carers. Likewise, engaging with younger generations to increase awareness and consideration of social care as a career path can further help to future-proof the industry and meet demand.

Alexandra Sydney, Director at Totaljobs commented:

“Totaljobs has seen a growing interest in social care roles, with applications up 13% compared to August 2018. However, our research highlights that there is more to be done to protect an industry in demand.

“Despite the challenges they face, the vast majority of social carers would still recommend a career in social care. With this, 81% of those who plan to stay in the industry say they’re proud of the work they do. Employers should promote this passion to attract entry-level talent into the sector. Generation Z are known for being driven by careers with purpose, but very few have considered a career in social care.

“By building awareness and consideration among those entering the workforce, employers have the opportunity to tap into a goldmine of talent, future-proof the industry and ensure people get the care they need.”

Download the Totaljobs social care report

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