Changes to international recruitment, what now?

On 4 December, the Home Secretary, James Cleverly, announced a series of changes to the migration system aimed at reducing legal migration numbers to the UK, including changes to the Skilled Worker minimum salary threshold, modifications to the Shortage Occupation List and adjustments to dependant visas.

Care England’s Chief Executive, Professor Martin Green OBE, issued a reactionary comment recognising the contribution of international workers and the importance of acting swiftly to invest in the domestic workforce given the proposed changes.

Whilst adult social care providers await further detail from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Home Office as to how these changes will work in practice, the significance of domestic recruitment has only become greater.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England says:
“For years, the Government opened doors for our sector to recruit overseas workers. The new measures make this route harder than before, and consequently, the sector must now adapt. We must look at our recruitment practice and develop new strategies to bring more domestic staff into a career in care. We must think creatively about what groups of people we can bring to the sector, and ensure they are the right people to provide support to those in receipt of care.”

Skills for Care’s data show that with values-based recruitment practices in place, 62% of staff have lower rates of sickness and absence. Additionally, 72% of staff perform better than those recruited via traditional methods. Skills for Care estimated a 23% cost saving when adopting a values-based recruitment approach.

When values-based recruitment is combined with a focus on learning and development, the solution is even more effective. According to Skills for Care: ‘Employers with favourable workforce metrics (such as high levels of learning and development), on average, had better outcomes (lower staff turnover and/or high CQC ratings)’.

As well as demonstrating a cost saving, Skills for Care data shows a staff turnover reduction of 5.6% delivering a £4,000 saving on top of £2,229 training costs per new employee when organisations implement values-based recruitment well.

In Care England’s new publication, ‘Savings, Solutions and Sustainability,’ (page 12) Damien Wilkins from Cohesion outlines the benefits to the care sector of values-based recruitment (VBR) as a solution to the recruitment and retention problems faced by the adult social care sector evidenced in the October 2023 Skills for Care data reporting vacancies of 152,000 and a staff turnover rate of 28.3%.

Once you’ve got the right staff in the door, they must be supported to stay in the workforce and have prosperous, fulfilling careers.

By introducing an Employee Assistance and Wellbeing Programme to support UK care staff, employers can equip the workforce with the tools they need to build personal resilience and deal with issues before they escalate, become difficult to treat or affect workplace performance and presenteeism.

An Employee Assistance and Wellbeing Programme will not only help to keep staff well and at work by supporting their mental, physical, and financial wellness with a blend of preventative and in the moment solutions but will also help employers demonstrate commitment to the workforce and in turn attract and retain more valued staff.

 On Page 12 of ‘ Savings, Solutions, and Sustainability,’ Vivup’s Karl Bennett details how a preventative and proactive approach to wellbeing can aid the sector’s retention challenges. Karl suggests additional support to relieve financial stress, stress-related burnout, and support bereavement such as the Employee Assistance and Wellbeing Programme creates wrap-around support for staff. This support enables staff to build emotional resilience and shows them that their employer is committed to their wellbeing through long-term solutions.
Professor Martin Green continues:
“The social care sector is brimming with optimism and talent. It’s up to us to platform this positivity and draw other like-minded individuals to the sector. We must override existing stigmas that exist around social care by showcasing what a fulfilling opportunity a career in care is.”

To read ‘Savings, Solutions, and Sustainability’ in full, and learn how to improve your recruitment and retention practices, click here.