Social Care Vacancies and the Competition for Staff

The recent report on the state of the social care workforce shows that it’s not just your care business that is struggling to recruit. The number of social care vacancies increased by 52% in just one year.

You can read the report here The state of the adult social care sector and workforce 2022 (

The care industry is not the only area competing for staff. The retail and catering sectors also have unfilled vacancies. Who gets the staff will ultimately depend on who adapts first.

The retails sector is already offering flexible hours, increased rates of pay and holiday entitlements. Lidl is currently offering customer assistants £10.90-£12.00 per hour plus 30-35 days holiday. Compare that to the average pay rate of £10.88 for a care assistant with just the statutory 28 days holiday.

In general, the care industry does not offer paid breaks or company sick pay but perhaps this is one way we could compete for staff and extend our reputations for caring for residents/clients to our employees?

If sickness absence is managed effectively, it may not be as expensive as you think. You could amend your policies and procedures in line with the current statutory sick pay rules so that company sick pay doesn’t kick in until the 4th day in a row of sickness or put limits on how long company sick pay will be paid, such as, one week.

An employer is legally obliged to pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), but it is entirely up to them how much they pay their employees to top up the SSP or for how long. This means that you can put together an affordable company sickness scheme that works for you and attracts and retains staff.

But it’s not just about pay.

Some care homes offer staff transport and meals. As the cost-of-living crisis deepens staff are becoming acutely aware of how much it is costing them to get to and from work and a meal at work is a meal less to pay for at home.

Again, you will need a strict staff meals policy and procedure in place which could easily be incorporated into your staff breaks policy. Offer a meal only to those working 8 hours or more and limit choices so that your chefs don’t have a nervous breakdown!

If your care service has a minibus, it’s probably only used once a week at most; and more often than not the battery is flat through lack of use. If your staff are local, make use of your minibus by offering pick up and drop off from a central location at the beginning and end of shifts. What’s more expensive, a round trip locally twice a day or staff absence or lateness or even their resignation?

Oh and don’t even think about asking applicants to pay upfront DBS costs or buy a uniform!