Scottish Care has released a new report which explores recruitment and retention of individuals working in the care sector.

Read the 4Rs: The open doors of recruitment and retention in social care

The report findings show:

  • Employers have seen an almost 20% increase in those over the age of 45 applying for care vacancies.
  • Providers are operating a wide range of workplace benefits and initiatives to help with the retention of staff, most of which are premised on the importance of giving staff a voice and a sense of value.

However, it also highlights:

  • 63% of staff who have left the sector in the last year did so within the first 6 months of employment, mostly because of mutual unsuitability identified by the employer and employee.
  • Providers believe the lack of responses to advertised care vacancies plus competition with other employers and sectors to be the main reasons for recruitment difficulty.

The report will be launched at an event in Glasgow today (Thurs 15 March) attended by over 100 staff from across the health and social care sector including a number of those working at the front line of care delivery.

Speaking ahead of the launch, CEO of Scottish Care, Dr Donald Macaskill, said:

“Our new research shows the need to consider how we attract people to enter the care sector and to pursue a fulfilling career within it. Whilst more needs to be done through education and careers advice to encourage young people to work in social care, the findings show an increase in older people applying for care jobs so we must also make sure that employment opportunities are suitably flexible and promoted appropriately amongst people of all ages and backgrounds.

“Yet concerningly, we know that a huge number of people are leaving the sector at an early stage of their employment, predominantly because they are not suitable for the work or it wasn’t what they expected it to be. Whilst working in care is undoubtedly challenging, it is also a hugely rewarding and skilled profession with lots of opportunities and we must therefore ensure that there is better awareness of all that comes with a career in care –to better recognise the importance of this profession but also to ensure we have the right people delivering complex care to our loved ones and that we have a sustainable care sector going forward. Without a committed workforce, we won’t have social care services.”

Scottish Care’s National Workforce Lead, Katharine Ross, added:

“A career in care is not the same for everybody but it needs to be available to everybody. This report captures the employment journey of so many committed, dedicated and skilled individuals of different ages, backgrounds and experiences working in care homes and care at home organisations across Scotland.

"However, it also shows the reality facing the care sector:

  • The reality of trying to develop, train, qualify and lead a workforce against a backdrop of task and time commissioning, fifteen minute visits and the persistent denial by policy and decision makers of the true cost of delivering dignified, person led, preventative care and support to older citizens across the country in care homes and care at home organisations.
  • The reality that the potential of health and social care integration is yet to be realised in Scotland and we continue to see the confliction of a health or social care workforce.
  • The reality that a largely unappreciated and undervalued social care workforce, delivering compassionate care to individuals with multiple complex mental and physical illness, is at breaking point.
  • The reality that fewer people are choosing to work within the sector, and more people are leaving.

“Only by acknowledging these realities will we be able to shut the door through which dedicated and skilled individuals are flooding out from, and create conditions where people enter, stay, develop and thrive in the care sector. It is the only way to ensure the development of a rights-based, dignified social care system for the tens of thousands of older people receiving care in their own home, or in a care home.”

Read the report here.