Apprenticeships at LB Newham – 9Oct13 Skills for Care

The latest data from Skills for Care’s annual ‘State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England report’ highlights the recruitment and retention challenges that the adult social care sector is facing right now.

Vacancies have risen 52% in one year to the highest rate on record. At the same time the number of filled posts (roles with a person working in them) has fallen. It’s vital that the social care sector continues to grow and that we attract new people to fill these roles, to make sure everyone can access the care and support they need now and in the future. In this article, SkillsForCare discuss recruiting younger generations, more specifically generation z to fill the skills gap in the social care workforce.

Why do we need younger people working in care?

The key to filling this skills gap is to attract younger people to build a career in care. Recruiting a younger generation now and keeping them for the long term will help us to sustain the workforce of the future.

The need to recruit more young people into care is further enhanced by the current ageing nature of the social care workforce. Currently, the average age of people working in adult social care is 45, with 28% aged 55 and over. This means we may lose approximately 430,000 people from the workforce in the next 10 years if those aged 55 and over decide to retire.

How can we attract more younger people from Generation Z (that’s people born from approximately 1997 to 2012) to build a career in care?

Changing the Conversation

From research conducted by Kids Connections, we know that COVID-19 has increased awareness and appreciation of care work among younger people, but not necessarily helped grow their desire to work in care.

To increase the longer-term prospects of younger people pursuing a career in care in future we need to encourage conversations from an early age, in schools and among families, about the value and opportunity of a career in care.

Attracting this age group to a career in care is undoubtedly challenging. Work is being done to encourage conversations around care careers in schools, but what more can social care providers do to reach younger people in that 16-25 age group right now? We need to develop ways to talk to them about care, honestly and positively, in a way that resonates with them.

What does Generation Z want from their Careers?

We need to consider the aspects of working in care that appeal to what Generation Z want from their career:

  • This generation is more concerned with having a good work/life balance, meaning we need to showcase the flexibility that social care roles offer when recruiting this group.
  • They want variety in their jobs, so when advertising a role we really need to highlight the fact that no two days are the same when it comes to social care.
  • This generation is eager to do something good and to make a difference to others.

Demonstrating how rewarding the simple day to day tasks involved with a role can be is something to be addressed in the recruitment process.  This helps young people to understand the value of supporting other people to live the lives they want. 

Appealing to Generation Z in the Recruitment Process

Using images of carers who are ‘like them’ in advertisements means they can relate to the role more directly. Show the breadth of people receiving care and the different environments in which care is provided – this will surprise them and it makes them sit up and take notice of more than preconceived ideas of a career in care!  

Social care may even offer an opportunity for them to do some of the things they enjoy in their everyday lives – carers provide a multitude of support, some examples of these activites are:

  • Sporting activities
  • Art classes
  • Supporting with shopping
  • Using ICT skills
  • Talking to new people

This is all in addition to doing something they’re passionate about, they’re keen to progress and to feel esteemed in their career – a focus on career pathways and opportunities to progress within the social care sector is important to this age group. Social care is one of the fastest growing sectors and offers job security as well as progression for this group.


Younger people are more driven to careers:

  • That helps others
  • Offers variety and flexibility around their lives
  • Allows them to do what they love and to thrive. 

Social care providers should consider these factors when thinking about how they advertise opportunities to younger people.

Of course, a well-written job advert alone isn’t the end solution to attracting younger people into care. We need a combined approach which considers how social care is discussed honestly and positively in our schools, communities, and media and how this helps to position the sector as a career of choice for future generations.

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In adult social around 1 in 10 social worker and 1 in 11 care worker roles are reportedly unfilled. Skillsforcare share the benefits of recruiting generation z to fill this gap and ways to encourage them to join the social care workforce.

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