Why we need to maintain the momentum on social care careers post Covid-19


A positive that has emerged from the coronavirus pandemic is society’s new-found appreciation of public sector professionals. Over these last few months, we have all witnessed the value these workers bring to society, and while the team here at WR have long appreciated the individuals that are employed in the field, a huge proportion of the general public have now realised just how needed these key workers truly are. In light of this, we are seeing more individuals take an interest in social care careers, which is great news for those employers investing in bolstering their workforce at a time when there’s a short supply of candidates. However, while this is fantastic news, we must ensure that we maintain the momentum on social care careers post Covid-19.

The initiatives helping to boost the social care workforce

During the crisis, there have been a number of companies that have invested in social care talent. For example, private sector employer, JP Morgan, has recently teamed up with the Prince’s Trust in a bid to get more young people into the health and care sector.

The banking giant has invested £540,000 to help turn the NHS pre-employment support programme ‘Get Started With Health’ into an online package. This funding will help the Prince’s Trust to increase its outreach efforts, recruitment, mentoring and coaching support for young people and graduates.

Adapting the ‘Get Started With Health’ programme into a digital package is part of a wider £1.4 million commitment by JP Morgan. Over the next 11 months, it’s expected that 1,000 young people will benefit from this programme, gaining the support needed to connect with work opportunities. The end goal of this scheme is to help create a stronger health and care workforce for the future.

The ‘New Normal’ virtual conference

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) chief executive and registrar, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, is a great example of the many individuals shining a light on the importance of inspiring new entrants in to the social care profession.

Andrea was among the keynote speakers at ‘The New Normal’ – a virtual conference for challenging times in social care – hosted by Care Talk. At the conference, she highlighted how the Covid-19 crisis has changed the perception of social care nursing, and why this must continue.

During her speech, Andrea said: “I’m clear that we must continue to make the most of the huge opportunities we’ve now got, as a consequence of the immensely difficult times we’ve had, by standing up for social care nursing – not just in terms of older people, but in the interests of those people living with mental health problems, learning disabilities and physical disabilities who rely and depend on highly skilled nursing care too.”

She then went on to express: “Most importantly of all, improving the perception and recognition of social care nursing is a shared responsibility of all of us who lead, manage and work in health and care services. It is incumbent on all of us to promote, champion and strengthen our social care nursing community – who really are the heart of our local communities – now and for the future.”

Social care skills shortage

Andrea certainly made some important points, and she’s right, we all have a responsibility to address and change the false perceptions of the industry which have existed for too long. Unfortunately, public sector workers have not always been praised, and it’s no secret that the sector has previously struggled with attracting talent.

In fact, in adult social care, around one in 10 social worker and one in 11 care worker roles are reportedly unfilled. When we also consider the fact that demand for social care workers is expected to rise in line with the UK’s ageing population, it is crucial that we invest in skills now.

Why we need to maintain the momentum on social care careers

However, while the number of professionals needed to close skills gaps seems considerably high, we have been presented with a rare opportunity to bolster social care workforces. With almost a quarter of the UK’s private sector workforce on furlough and many now unemployed, there are a number of skilled people who are looking for meaningful roles beyond the role they are trained for.

What were once ‘maligned’ roles are now rightfully recognised as key pillars in the foundational economy. It’s important that employers seize this opportunity to attract talent as this will aid the survival of social care careers post Covid-19 and help lessen the burden that comes with talent shortages.

A career in social care in not only meaningful to individuals, but also to society. It’s vital that this message is emphasised to job seekers, students and graduates. As we enter the ‘new normal’, organisations should focus on building their employer brand to make long-term prospects in the public sector more enticing. Additionally, they should adapt their approach to be fit for the world of work post-Covid, including how they communicate with potential candidates, creating a strong employee value proposition and enhancing their offering.

Social care careers post Covid-19

As lockdown measures ease and we slowly move towards the ‘new normal’, it’s important to keep the momentum going and highlight the sector as great place to work. With the right employer brand and workforce planning, organisations can still attract passionate individuals who truly care about social care post Covid-19.

Taking the right actions now and maintaining the momentum of social care careers post Covid-19 will ensure that there is enough talent to plug current and future skill gaps, helping to protect the sector and allow it to thrive in the years to come.

The coronavirus crisis has been one of the biggest challenges to social care and the general public in a generation. However, despite all of the hurdles that it has presented, it may well be a moment for positive change for the sector and its workforce.

The WR healthcare team is still providing the same high level of service as ever and some of the team are already back in the office. All of our consultants can be reached via their landlines, email, and social media profiles, so if you’re looking to choose a career in healthcare, why not reach out to them?

To find out more, contact us today.