Research coordinated by Vida Healthcare has revealed that only 42% of the general public would consider a career in health or social care, and yet 69% of the social care workforce see their future career in social care.
The dementia care specialist coordinated research into the sentiment of the social care and NHS workforce following the ongoing strikes, staff shortages and calls for better pay. This is exacerbated by public perceptions of health and social care, with over one third (34%) of people in the UK not considering a career in these sectors due to perceptions of low wages and long hours.
When it comes to pay, the UK population believes that the average salary for a social care worker is less than £30,000, with only 2% of people believing that they can be paid an average salary of over £46,000. Vida’s research has revealed that the average salary for social care workers across the UK is £28,962 while almost one quarter (20%) of the workforce are paid £31,000-£35,999.
While the majority (63%) of social care workers haven’t considered a career move, and 32.4% of NHS workers agree or strongly agree that they often think about leaving their organisation, Vida’s research has revealed the initiatives that can be put in place by employers to attract and retain more talent.
Social care workers cited better pay (65%), more flexible hours (47%) and mental health support (36%), while career development and training was flagged as important by NHS workers. Less than half (42.4%) of the NHS workforce agree that there are opportunities to develop their career in their organisation, and only 41.7% feel supported to develop their potential.
James Rycroft, Managing Director at Vida Healthcare, said: “Negative news abounds about both health and social care services in the UK, from the government being warned that the sectors are on a precipice, to criticism that the Spring Budget didn’t reference public sector workers. Our research has shown that while there are things that need to be done to support the current workforce and attract new people to work in health and social care, it may not be as bleak as it first appears.”
With over two fifths (43%) of the general public in the UK not considering a career in health or social care due to believing that their skill set isn’t right, the research shows that there’s a job to do in educating the population about the skills that are required.
According to the research, the main requirements that are needed to hire strong talent is kindness and compassion. Over half (50.4%) of NHS workers agree that their role makes a difference to patients and service users, while 67% of the social care workforce surveyed chose a career in the sector because they enjoy caring for others. Wanting to make a difference (64%) and job satisfaction (50%) were also cited as key reasons for joining the sectors.
Rycroft added: “While experience and/or education is of course important, our ethos at Vida is that anyone can become successful in the social care sector if they are a kind and compassionate person. Ultimately, our job is to care for people and make a difference to their lives.
“People are the lifeblood of our health and care services, and employers within these sectors need to do everything we can to support our employees. At Vida we’ve implemented a number of initiatives to help keep our staff happy. This includes increasing our pay by 30% to benefit a number of roles, including nurses whose hourly rate increased from £18.50 to £22.50. We also have our specialist training platform, Vida Academy where we deliver numerous training programmes to provide staff with career development opportunities. This includes our Aspiring Leaders programme which gives people the skills they need to become exceptional leaders.
“While it’s not always easy as employers to implement initiatives like this, they do provide significant benefits. For example, our staff turnover is only 6% compared to the industry standard of 29%4.
“We also recently coordinated an internal staff survey to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to make Vida an enjoyable place to work. I was delighted to hear that 85% of our staff feel motivated and accomplished in their role, almost three quarters (74%) agree they have achieved either personal or professional development goals during their time at Vida, and 81% agree they have the support they need to carry out their duties.”