National Recruitment campaign for adult social care – findings from the scoping study

National Recruitment campaign for adult social care – findings from the scoping study

This scoping study was conducted in two parts, a review of evidence available and a consultation exercise (including both an online survey and a series of consultation events). The project took place from November 2017 – February 2018. We would like to thank all of those who contributed to the scoping study, taking the time to share their valuable insight and experience.

What you told us…

Challenges faced by the social care sector when recruiting:

  • Perception of low pay (80%)
  • Not enough people applying for vacancies (70%)
  • Perception of poor terms and conditions of employment (69%)
  • Poor public perception of adult social care locally (61%)
  • Lack of awareness of different roles (56%)
  • Candidates expectations don’t match the reality of the work (40%)
  • Applicants don’t have genuine interest in the roles (33%) or lack the right values (27%)


Support for the aims of the campaign

There was strong demand for a national recruitment campaign for adult social care in England with 94% of survey respondents agreeing that such action is required and 98%-99% agreed with the campaign aims set out.

Campaign aims

  • Raise awareness and improve perceptions of the adult social care sector
  • Inspire people with right values to: take first steps towards a career/ successful career change/ return/ encourage others in adult social care
  • Help people understand more about adult social care, to help them explore whether a job in the sector would be right for them
  • Connect people to jobs, education, or other ways to explore a career in adult social care

The consultation also highlighted the following additional points:

  • The importance of committing sufficient resources to give the campaign the best possible prospects of achieving its objectives.
  • The need for campaigns to attract new entrants to social care in response to the trend of workers leaving the sector or moving between employers
  • The negative perceptions and limited knowledge of the sector held by many potential recruits.
  • Several participants highlighted a need to address the practical challenges to recruitment evident in the sector as part of any campaign, including the length of time taken for compliance checks to be completed.
  • Participants also emphasised a need to maintain a focus on improving recruitment practices within the sector as well as increasing the number of candidates applying for vacancies.
  • Participants indicated that efforts needed to be directed at providing people in positions of influence with regards to career choices with more accurate information about the realities of work and career prospects within social care.


Standalone or integrated campaign

Seven in ten respondents to the online survey felt that any campaign that was developed should focus on adult social care (71%). However, during the depth discussions, there was no clear consensus. Some were concerned that the social care messages in an integrated campaign could be diluted and that a job in adult social care would be seen solely as a stepping stone into other sectors. Some however saw this as a strength.


Campaign content

In summary the key elements required of an effective recruitment campaign were identified as:

  • Raising awareness of the sector so that the public understands the importance of the adult social care workforce.
  • Messaging to attract new people to the sector, in particular people with the right values.
  • Improving the image of adult social care and addressing negative perceptions and low status.
  • Promoting the career opportunities and progression routes within adult social care.
  • Showcasing the range of roles within the adult social care workforce.

Participants also highlighted job satisfaction, the variety of work, flexibility, and the rewarding aspect of making a difference.


Connecting national and local

Participants felt that effective coordination of national recruitment campaign with local activities and partnerships would be a key factor in the success of nationally-led recruitment campaign delivered locally.

The scoping study identified that:

  • National recruitment campaigns use a ‘call to action’ including signposting to a single point of contact, coordinating website or helpline to enable potential job seekers and people changing careers to access further information and support.
  • Tools and support material developed at a national level can be disseminated to local organisations to support targeted activities whilst ensuring consistency of messaging, branding and approach.
  • More can be done to develop local partnerships between employers, schools, colleges, Job Centre Plus and employment agencies to develop creative ways of engaging the potential workforce of tomorrow.
  • Consensus amongst participants that the process of connecting people to jobs, education or other opportunities had to be quick and efficient to ensure that the sector was able to respond promptly and follow-up with prospective candidates.


Next steps

We have shared the findings with the Department of Health and Social Care and we are in discussions about next steps.