Today, Tuesday 14 October, 2021, the findings of the Workforce Recruitment and Retention Survey have been released as a summarised report.
Scottish Care issued a survey to gain an up-to-date picture of the top issues faced by the workforce with the objective of gaining data on recruitment and retention of staff at both the national scale as between care services; the level of sustainable delivery and financial viability of services for providers; feedback on what it working and what is not. We noted there is not just room for improvement, but a dire need for a change in commissioning and procurement, improved career pathways and better valuing of the distinct work that the social care workforce provide.
The findings from the survey show widespread difficulty across the independent, third and voluntary sectors, shared by members and non-members alike. The current workforce crisis is the worst in recent years, and the findings of the report highlight as much: recruitment and retention is increasingly problematic and cannot be sustained, not least attributable to high costs involved in trying to attract individuals to the sector, ineffective methods of advertising and no guarantee that those invited to attend interviews even show up.
The report also details findings related to contract types and hours worked as well as sickness and absence levels. Absence levels are significantly higher for the care sector than health, and the sector must continue to mitigate the impact that COVID is having on the health and wellbeing of the workforce.
Social care workforce issues are complex, and the issues have never been as serious as they are today. With recruitment and retention problems compounded by Covid and Brexit, many providers of care in care at home and nursing homes will struggle to keep going through the coming autumn and winter without urgent action to support the sector. There is evidently more work that needs to be done in partnership to ensure that clear pathways into social care recruitment are established.
The report does not detail immediate solutions but captures the data we believe necessary to initiate and seriously push for change in the sector so that delivery of care can be sustained, where there are better wages, terms and conditions, and a proper valuing of the workforce and sector in Scotland.