Care workers say they’re over-stretched
Caring Times, November 2012
Many care workers feel they are doing the work of one-and-a-half people, according to a study by social care, allied health and medical recruiter Randstad Care.
A survey which which included 142 workers in the care sector had found that, on average, health and social care professionals felt they currently had to perform the job of 1.5 people, meaning they were covering 50% more work than one person should be; the equivalent of fitting an additional two-and-a-half days’ worth of work into the ordinary working week.
Randstad Care operations director Vicky Short warned of the dangers of leaving vacancies open for too long. “Recruiting for a care post is like trying to sell your house,” said Ms Short.
“Leave it on the market too long and, for whatever reason, people start to think there is something wrong with it. That leads to fewer applications and increased pressures on the rest of the staff left trying to cover the empty position.
“We know social care professionals already feel they are performing the job of one and a half people. If they’re cramming an extra two and a half days worth of work into a working week, they are going to find it extremely difficult to cover for vacant job posts, too. Leaving a hole in the workforce too long will inevitably undermine service provision.”
Ms Short said that, while social care workers wouldn’t start judging a job negatively until the vacancy’s been advertised for 83 days, the ideal time was a quarter of this.
“The best applicant is often the one who turns up early in the process,” sahe said.
“The trick is not to turn that person down in order to keep benchmarking against other people who may or may not be in the market. If employers see the right person on the first day of interviews, they need to have the courage of their convictions and hire the candidate straight away. If they don’t, they have to be prepared to see that job seeker walk into the arms of another local authority or care home who is willing to move faster.“