News & Views
Taking care of care sector recruitment

The healthcare sector has always been a tough gig for recruiters. Squeezed budgets. Low pay. Robust industry regulations. High candidate drop-off rates. High staff turnover. Honestly – we feel your pain. And then Brexit buggered things up and Covid caused a whole new kind of chaos. Suddenly the care sector was in need of some urgent care of its own.

So what’s the state of play now – and how can recruitment software soften future blows?

Going, going… gone?

So, Brexit. It was always going to impact on care sector recruitment then at the start of this year a new points-based immigration system  came into force. Care workers were reclassified as ‘unskilled’, which meant they couldn’t apply for the new Health and Care Visa.

Meanwhile Covid had decimated the workforce. According to care sector employers surveyed by Care Management Matters, around a quarter of their employees couldn’t work  due to coronavirus-related issues such as shielding, self-isolation and childcare.

And then the care sector got another Covid kick in the teeth with the compulsory vaccination policy. The exodus of care workers has already started  and is set to worsen. Government estimates point to the loss of 38,000 workers resulting from the ‘no jab, no job’ policy – amounting to around £94m in recruitment costs . In fact, worst-case scenario is that 68,000 care workers will be lost due to the policy. That £162.5m cash injection  promised by the government? It ain’t hardly going to cover it!

Unfortunately there isn’t a magic wand to make this recruitment nightmare go away (sorry about that!). But the good news is that recruitment software can provide headache-relieving solutions to many of today’s challenges.

A virtual future

Covid saw a massive migration to the online environment, with virtual interviews, onboarding and training becoming a key part of the recruitment process. Many of our own clients went virtual and it was great to be able to offer them a system integration that automatically sets up Microsoft Teams for interviews.  We also built a process so that managers could ‘match’ the candidate being interviewed on Zoom with their application photo and information – a crucial step for CQC-compliant identification.

In this new virtual world care providers have become more aware of digital platforms and are looking at other efficiencies they can drive through with ATS, such as bank staff management. For us it creates an opportunity to look at other solutions within our HARBOUR platform – like induction portals, which will potentially speed up and codify the new starter process even more effectively.

Agile as a whippet!

These past few years have taught us all the need to be agile and flexible. Care home organisations have had to adapt their recruitment process – and quickly. And it’s become increasingly clear that having the right ATS can help them stay ahead of the curve.

Our own HARBOUR system is whippet fast and more flexible than a yogi master doing the Downward Dog. That’s always been a huge plus for the care home sector where organisations have their own, individual interpretation of the recruitment process and need a system that can adapt accordingly. 

We’re certainly going to be seeing more of that need now with care home providers having to factor compulsory Covid vaccinations into an already demanding recruitment process.

Candidate-driven recruitment

The care sector is more candidate-driven than it’s ever been. And we’re living in a world where people speak freely about their recruitment experience on social media. So it’s more important than ever to keep candidates happy – and your organisation’s reputation intact.

Sure, CQC regulations require a lot of jumping through hoops (and quite rightly!) but recruitment software can ease the pain for candidates. Take what we did with our lovely client Care UK . We created a two-stage application process so that candidates could complete a short form early on then another longer form prior to their interview. By making the process as quick, easy and painless as possible candidates were kept engaged in the recruitment process.

In an industry where the drop-off rate between a candidate applying on a job board then being asked to complete an application form is 80% that kind of engagement counts. For Care UK, our system shrunk their time to hire by 60% – and while we were at it we also slashed their offer-to-onboarding time by half!

The future of healthcare recruitment

There are still turbulent times ahead. In their 2021 annual report on the state of the adult social care sector Skills for Care predict the need for 490,000 extra jobs by 2035 . Set against that is the high level of care staff currently leaving the industry  to avoid compulsory vaccination or move to a less stressful and higher-paid job.

Skills for Care’s report found that while the vacancy rate for adult social care jobs increased post-Covid there has been a drop in the number of filled posts. So the demand is there – but recruitment and retention issues continue to be a challenge.

Care providers who’ll survive this state of flux are the ones who can drive efficiency in their recruitment process. And whatever the size of the organisation – we work with care providers large and small – recruitment software can help them do that.

An ATS system can optimise the recruitment process in so many ways. Shorten time to hire and onboard.  Reduce drop off/out rate. Lower admin time and costs. Support CQC auditability. Provide transparency of management information that enables vital business decisions to be made.

And, yes, recruitment software like ours can do all that – and keep care home providers and candidates happy in the process.

Ready for a chat? Contact our Client Success Director at ben@harbourats.com or drop us a line

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