Talent Acquisition

Why Aren’t We Engaging with Young Talent in the Social Care Sector?

One way for care organizations to tackle the issue of succession planning before it becomes a serious crisis is to attract young people into vacant job roles. Care organizations need to acknowledge the benefits of attracting young people earlier on in their decision-making process. This includes promoting the exciting and wide-ranging career options available within the sector.

There are currently an estimated 760,000 young people (16 to 24 years) not in employment, education or training (NEET) – couldn’t some of these fill the current 110,000 vacancies in the care sector? As it’s estimated that 24% of all social care workers are aged over 55 and will retire gradually over the next ten years, creating around 320,000 job vacancies within the industry.

Employers need to consider different ways to interest a younger age group to job roles and be innovative in their recruitment strategy. Different aspects of the job will appeal more to a younger workforce, so it is important to tailor job adverts and recruitment to attract younger candidates.

Try introducing social media advertising and develop relationships with local schools and colleges.  You can do this by giving assembly talks and hosting stands at careers fairs, all of which can be a great way to interact directly with potential employees.

Young employees are also great ambassadors – why don’t you use these to showcase how rewarding and successful a career in care can be – both on your website and within recruitment.

Make applications simple to fill out and send off, limit time-consuming forms which need posting as this can prevent young people from applying.  Also, consider changing the language used in your adverts to attract 16-24-year olds by making it less formal.

Finally, try listing desired skills rather than qualifications so that it removes any barriers to allow a wider candidate pool.

Values-based recruitment (VBR) takes a holistic approach to the hiring process and helps employers to find the right candidates with the right skills for the role who will provide a high level of care.

VBR allows employers to assess the values, behaviors, and attitudes of a candidate, rather than having the necessary qualifications and/or direct work experience. The staff you want to hire should be compassionate, responsible and empathetic. Interview questions should ask candidates to give examples of ways their personality and behavior reflects these skills; this could include caring for a relative or friend, volunteering for a local charity, etc. Although it does take more effort to begin with, there are many benefits to switching to this type of recruitment strategy – it has a positive impact on staff retention, as well as improving the quality of care within a care organization.

Finally, children and teenagers need to be made aware of a career to aspire to work in that particular industry.  If organizations aren’t reaching out to young children promoting different career paths, they may not hear about these opportunities until it’s too late. Care organizations are approaching young people of school-leaver or university age, but by this time many have already decided on their immediate future. If the sector wants to see an increase in the number of 16-24-year olds applying for roles, we must focus on educating the future generation on the options available in social care before they have made their decisions. Build bridges with local schools and colleges and create mutually beneficial relationships by offering work experience opportunities – after all these could be your future employees!

About the author: Amanda Marques, is the Business Solutions Director, at Cohesion

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