The head of care industry body Care England has called for employers to ‘think creatively’ about how they recruit into the struggling sector.
Professor Martin Green said that new immigration measures announced earlier this month made it “harder than before” to recruit overseas workers, and urged the sector to adapt.
In early December, home secretary James Cleverly announced a range of measures designed to slash legal immigration to the UK, pushing up the annual salary required for a skilled worker visa to £38,700.
Although those on health and care visas are exempt, they will no longer be able to bring dependants, a measure that could be catastrophic for care employers.
Green said the proposed changes meant the care sector would have to act swiftly to invest in its domestic workforce.
“We must look at our recruitment practice and develop new strategies to bring more domestic staff into a career in care,” he said.
“We must think creatively about what groups of people we can bring to the sector, and ensure they are the right people to provide support to those in receipt of care.”
Care England has issued a report, Savings, Solutions and Sustainability, looking at how it can address challenges in the sector in the long term.
Data from Skills for Care shows that there is a staff turnover rate of 28.3% in care, and there were more than 150,000 live vacancies in October 2023, and one proposed solution is to embrace values-based recruitment.
In the report, Damien Wilkins, a recruitment and retention specialist at Cohesion, argues that determining a candidate’s values and suitability through assessment tools could offer a greater return on investment than constantly re-recruiting.
The report also suggests that investments such as employee assistance programmes and wellbeing support could help tackle staff turnover by helping to build emotional resilience.
Green added: “The social care sector is brimming with optimism and talent. It’s up to us to platform this positivity and draw other like-minded individuals to the sector.
“We must override existing stigmas that exist around social care by showcasing what a fulfilling opportunity a career in care is.”