Hays UK jobs and employment blog



Coping with demand – how to navigate a new era in social care

By Matt Lewis, Director of Hays Public Services

The demand for social care professionals is understandably among the highest across all industries today as employers are on the lookout for strong talent to support them through these testing times.

In fact, over two thirds (68%) of social care employers are actively recruiting, according to findings from our Market Insights Report. So, in light of the heightened competition for available talent, what do employers in social care need to know about hiring in a new era of work?

Recruit for a new soft skill profile

Soft skills are an essential element of a social care professional’s arsenal and something that employers assess when looking for talent. The soft skills that employers want the most include:

  1. Communication and interpersonal skills (needed by 57% of employers)
  2. Flexibility and adaptability (needed by 54%)
  3. Problem solving (needed by 45%)

Whilst these skills have always been important in this profession, the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted just how crucial they are to organisational success – especially in times of such extraordinary change. These skills should be prioritised by employers in the sector as we move forward into the new era of work, alongside the right mindset to cope with change.

Put wellbeing at the fore

Wellbeing of staff is vital to social care and indeed across all industries, but it’s especially important now in light of the additional stress and anxiety the pandemic is causing professionals.

Our findings reveal that having a support system for employees’ mental health has grown in importance for professionals in social care since lockdown began, as was having a work support network and good work-life balance.

It’s paramount that employers place staff wellbeing high on their agenda both for prospective and current staff. As well as being crucial for obvious reasons, showcasing your efforts serves as a strong candidate attraction tool, helping you stand out from the competition.

Offer long-term career pathways

Social care professionals are among the most satisfied in the UK, with two thirds (66%) saying they have a positive or very positive outlook towards their jobs which is higher than the 44% UK average.

Despite this, the coronavirus has impacted professionals’ confidence to progress their career – a fifth (20%) say they are now less confident in their career prospects. An important part of any hiring strategy, therefore, will be promoting a long-term career pathway, which will stand out to professionals in today’s climate and beyond.

Refresh your hiring strategy

A post-lockdown era of agile working and social distancing looks set to remain for the foreseeable future, so hiring and onboarding staff in this way will need to be a consideration in your workforce strategy.  There are many questions that employers will need to think about, from the way their organisation operates, to how they can make the best use of technology, and which skills will be most needed – but most important is keeping the safety and wellbeing of your workforce front of mind.

To help support you, download our guide for advice on what to consider now and in the future to establish your new way of working.

Download the Market Insights Report for more insights into employer and employee sentiment right now. For additional resources on topics including onboarding remotely, managing hybrid or flexible teams and undertaking virtual interviews as we move forward, visit our Inspire Me in the New Era of Work hub.

About this author

Matt Lewis, Director Hays Public Services, has worked in specialist recruitment since 1994, the last 10 years of which have been spent working specifically with the public sector. Matt’s role has developed into leading MSP and RPO recruitment solutions to best position organisations to attract and retain high quality talent.


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