From the month that starts off with fireworks and the story of Guy Fawkes, it hasn’t started with a 'bang' at Quad Recruitment. Once again being a recruitment consultant has lived up to its reputation of being up and down and testing how resilient I really am.
The month resumed from the last one; filling the current vacancies available for healthcare assistants and support workers. Taking me away from the care home roles I normally concentrate on, I had a chance to focus on new ones given to Quad Recruitment, which was a breath of fresh air at my desk and a new challenge I was determined to excel on. This, however was not the case. Stripping CVs, leaving voicemails and sending follow up emails for a lot of the time made me feel like a robot; sat there being hypnotised by the bright pixels in front of me and the sound of the mouse clicking away.
It was not all doom and gloom though. From this I received a lot of feedback from people from both ends of the spectrum in healthcare which made me question: Why is it so hard to find care assistants and are they a dying breed?
Firstly, I wanted to know the views of a care assistants past and present
The main issue was of course....the pay rate. Working in a difficult and demanding environment helping elderly people that have dementia or other disabilities with all aspects of personal hygiene and any other requirements all around the clock for as little as £7.83 to around £8.50 per hour (I personally believe they deserve a lot more).
It was also mentioned that places weren't managed very well and the treatment of residents disgusted a lot of care workers which resulted in them looking elsewhere.
Also, work overload affected a lot of people making it very physically demanding as there were too many part time staff/ not enough staff, which meant more shifts had to be covered. Some (not all) staff even were given other responsibilities such as massive amounts of management admin, accountant preparation, legal aspects and contract negotiation. I have had a few workers leave their roles this month as a result of this.
In conclusion it seems that people believe it isn’t a good career to have or build on, with people not receiving the support they want financially and mentally. They are ‘promised the world by companies who agree to train them and exaggerate the benefits from working with them yet this is never followed through’.
Looking at a current study and statistics, a careworker/ homecarer is the 46th worst paid job in the UK. This doesn't seem too bad especially when you look at the potential earnings you could make. However its not in the list of best paid jobs either. Have a look yourself and see what you think:
Now the Home managers and clients turn to voice their opinion on the workers.
I spoke to a person who has 30 plus years of experience in healthcare and has been a Healthcare assistant/ senior to registered manager. They have an NVQ Level 3, Q.C.F. Level 5 in Leadership and Management for Health and Social Care, fully qualified Assessor with TAQA and National Pharmaceutical Society Certificate in Administration of Medication. They gave me an insight in which a few other experienced people agreed on. It went as follows: 'Mostly young girls with 1 child, looking for 16 hours work to comply with Income Support obligations, who are actually resentful of clients, who have applied for 5 or 6 jobs in hotels, cafes, shops, cinemas etc, who are the ones to avoid employing. They need 16 hours from ' anywhere', and ring in ' sick' often. Their children are 'ill' unusually often, and working extra hours is of no interest, since the money is deducted from benefits. They disappear outside to smoke, and use their mobile smartphones during shifts. Middle aged ladies with at least NVQ 2, and good references are most committed. Their children are teenagers, and they work harder'
Now this might seem a bit harsh and very uncalled for, in which we at Quad do not necessarily agree with, but its interesting to see what these people actually think. They then added: 'Be careful not to invest too much money from training budget on girls who are engaged, they often pass level 2 and moving and handling at your expense, then announce a pregnancy. Girls with jewellery at interview, and long nails will probably break regulations if you are not around. They wear things which could cut fragile skin during personal care. You would not know if they worked lone shifts. In the 90's when I started in leadership toles, we called 2 young inexperienced staff the ' wait a minute team'. Client requests were met with a sigh, and there would be favouritism towards residents who had less physical need'
Again, this isn't a view from all managers but how many can actually relate to this? Doesn’t it seem an uphill struggle if both sides have negative views on each other. The worrying thing is that does it not take the attention away from the most important group of people…the service users.
Now the final thought from a recruiter.
Recruitment agencies get bad reviews from workers as they offer zero hour contracts, no consistent hours thus giving no reassurance or security. Care home managers and clients have a stigma against recruitment consultants as they believe we just send anybody over for interview, charge rates are too high or its our fault for unreliable people.
This , yet again, is only the views of a select few and could not be further from the truth with how Quad recruitment work, We have a huge passion for healthcare and take it very seriously. We interview people twice before we send them for a 3rd and final one with the client. We spend lots of time picking out the perfect candidates that meet the needs of the care home. All we want to do is get a healthy working balance between candidate and client yet it seems like in this business there is some sort of a 'Love hate triangle' between client- Care worker and Recruitment agency.
I will reiterate that all the above is not the opinions of Quad or every personnel in this sector but I thought it’s a great discussion topic.
What does concern me is that places are so understaffed that they are eager to have experienced and trained people working yet the people that are willing to do this at such a pay rate have none of the qualifications or skills to do so.d, The question then is how do you start a career in a job that best suits you? Surely like most things in the world, greater the price = greater the quality
So now over to you.
Why do you think there is such a dark cloud over Healthcare? Is it slowly deteriorating? Does it all stem from the funding from the government and local councils? Is it from greedy care home owners?
With the lack of interest in healthcare it seems a few care providers are starting to crumble, and some big companies cease to exist now.
Once again, Quad Recruitment do not agree with all of the above but we are eager to try and make it right. We appreciate any feedback and maybe we can all join together in giving this industry a major boost.
Hopefully Santa spreads some cheer over December...…..