Need to hire the best talent for the Health & Social Care sector? Brook Street is here to help you...

Employer advice, Employer Services, Specialist social care...

​The Health and Social Care Sector is an area in which the staff hired greatly impacts the health and well-being of others. It’s imperative that organisations find the right candidates with the balance of skills, attitude, and behaviour for the role, as well as operate the right recruitment strategy and working environment to ensure they can secure and retain the best talent who feel valued by their employer.

According to Skills for Care, there are currently 1.5 million people working in the Care Sector - more than the NHS. The growth in our sector has created a gap in experienced candidates. Many Care organisations are finding this talent shortage one of their top priorities, especially with an ageing population and fewer people opting for careers in the Health and Social Care industry.

This talent shortage was inevitable and we, as a recruiter, like those also working in the sector see our main challenges not only within the recruitment of workers, but also in the retention of top talent.

Skills for Care ran a survey and found that in the UK today there are approx. 165,000 open roles - higher than the NHS, Hospitality and retail sector. In the Adult Care sector, the starter rate has fallen from 37.3% in 2018/2019 to 30.8% in 2021/2022, staff turnover remains at a similar level (36.1% in 2021/2022) therefore around the same proportion of people are leaving their roles but there are fewer people replacing them. Interestingly, a large proportion of workers stay within the sector meaning that there is a great opportunity for organisations to maximise staff retention. Organisations also have to consider that within the next 10 years it is estimated that around 430,000 people aged 55+ could retire from the sector.

Ofsted Main Findings report Children and Social Care in England 2022 cited that in the Children’s sector in 2022 there was a 7% increase in the number of children’s homes and a 4% increase in the number of places compared with 31 March 2021, this continues the long-standing trend of the number of new homes rising faster than the number of new places.

Every region in the UK saw an increase in the number of children’s homes, with 3,576 social care providers. This is a 5% increase compared with 31 March 2021, when there were 3,402 providers. As with previous years, most of this increase can be accounted for by the increase in children’s homes, there were 2,873 children’s homes of all types a 6% increase (167 homes) from the previous year (2,706), which in turn has created more open roles.

We believe that there are many challenges for the sector reflecting on these statistics.

Firstly, the increased volume of roles leaves organisations with a dilemma of how they promote their company over their competitors in the sector to become the “employer of choice”. We understand that it’s not always about the salary. Care is a vocation, so should we be putting more attention into retaining great talent and not losing them to other organisations?

The main winners in the retention of staff is firstly to understand what workers want. Candidates today tell us it’s about “what is in the role for them”. From progression to benefits and how well staff are treated - all current typical desires from workers in our sector More recently pay rates have become more of an issue than ever before we factor in the rise in cost of living. This means that an organisation with a finger on the pulse of what is important to their workforce have a higher success rate of keeping staff turnover low. This approach also attracts new talent and creates a happy and motivated workforce, all of which combined significantly reduce time and money as well as give your service users continuity of care.

Maximizing the retention of talent starts by attracting the right quality worker with outstanding attitude and behaviour as well as skills. The current market is crowded with many organisations searching for the same talent. Candidates are overwhelmed by the number of roles on offer and don’t know what to apply for first, some driven by salary, others location and hours or benefits. All of this results in a disconnect between application and your organisation’s attraction efforts, the promotion of your roles is key to attract great interest from your local candidate communities followed by an excellent quick and speedy candidate journey.

As we move from the pandemic, more and more organisations started to reach out to us to discuss an enhanced recruitment model approach to discover how they can embrace the current new market conditions to successfully engage and retain talent. Whether that be to help with a one-off maximum impact on a number of roles in a particular hot spot area, or several different locations under the same project. Many of these services were and are just looking for a quick injection to relieve the pressure to get them back on track, open a new or re-open an existing location, a critical need or looking for a short-term project with a longer partnership approach.

Due to the demand of clients needing additional support in this challenging market, we explored how we could support them in a different and innovative way. We realised that all clients were suffering from three main challenging areas:


  • One of many organisations looking for staff in the same area

  • Due to the sheer number of roles many companies have an issue with brand awareness

  • Using the same old traditional routes to market without the return on investment

2.Candidate Pipeline:

  • Not sustainable to fill all roles due to lack of success with attraction and keeping up with potential staff turnover

3.End to end Recruitment process:

  • Many are disjointed and not targeted to what candidates are looking for today

  • Process and time to hire is too long, meaning that candidates look elsewhere and take other roles with a less complex process

  • Offer to start is the main danger zone because of the complex nature of referencing and compliance support - many organisations don’t have the infrastructure to carry out this part of the process at pace, and again this also results in talent taking other roles

In response to these challenges, Brook Street Social Care has developed a solution-based “task force type model” to provide permanent hires in a different way. Our approach offers clients a dedicated team of care recruitment experts, attraction teams and Account Management wrapped up in a bespoke targeted solution.

This means that the task force moves in for an agreed amount of time to fulfil the unique need and then moves out again when no longer required to support.

Below are some examples of clients who are currently using or have used this delivery solution:

Lancaster project x7 roles
8–12-week project
Roles had previously been open for 8 months
All roles offered within 4 weeks
9 days into the project first offer was made
All candidates started
Currently 100% retention

National Multisited Project x 38 roles
18-week project
Roles had previously been open for between 4 and 12 months
All roles offered within 13 weeks
5 days into the project first offer was made
All candidates started
Currently 100% retention

Hertfordshire Project x 27 roles:
16-week project
Roles had previously been open for between 3 to 14 months
All roles offered within 11 weeks
7 days into the project first offer was made
All candidates started
Currently 100% retention

Preston Project x 18 roles:
12-week project
New Location which needed to be fully staffed from Registered Manager, Deputy and Support Worker to meet very tight deadlines for new services users moving in
All roles offered within 9 weeks
4 days into the project first offer was made
All candidates started
Currently 100% retention​

There is a diverse range of unique requirements across many different locations, meaning that the solution is tailored specifically to the need rather than one size fits all.

This approach has delivered on two fronts for our clients. Firstly, we have filled all roles at 100%/Secondly: a 100% retention of those workers. We believe our Values Based approach to recruitment strategy has been fundamental in the success of these projects.

Our roles within care are all about attitude and behaviour first. By adopting this approach we’ve saved our clients time and money, as well as giving our candidates a first-class customer experience.

Do you think this approach would work in your business to relieve some of the pressure?

If Yes, we’d love to talk to you.

We’ve created our latest ‘Care sector recruitment market dashboard’, a resource to share with you for free. This data gives insights into the UK market, with the ability to drill down into some of your “hot spot” locations. Use this to understand what your competitors are offering, as well as the candidate market and trends in each location, local salaries and what’s coming next...

Brook Street Social Care is immensely proud of our reputation as a leading provider of Care-related recruitment solutions within the UK marketplace. Established in 1993, celebrating 30 Years of service in 2023, with our primary focus to provide exceptional delivery of service to our clients within the Health and Social Care Sector.

How? We provide experienced and compliant workers to match the unique requirements of each client and their service users. We’re highly skilled at tailoring our service to meet the most specific or complex requirements providing services to a wide range of user groups including Adult Services, Children Services, Learning Disability and SEN, Mental Health and Housing and Supported Living.

We have local delivery hubs in multiple towns and cities across England and Wales, along with industry-leading Resource Centres which enable us to provide our clients with unrivalled scalability, our business includes:

  • Over 12 regional hubs strategically placed across the UK – illustrating our capability to provide our clients with extensive coverage as well as a local experienced team of Care experts, many of which have come from the Care sector

  • A Centre of Recruitment Excellence – which includes a large team of resourcing specialists providing dedicated candidate sourcing and screening services within our sector across the UK

  • Out-of-hours resourcing professionals – consisting of highly trained Consultants who ensure that we can manage our clients’ requirements 24/7, 365 days per year and who proactively source and connect with existing / prospective candidates outside standard working hours at a time that often suits them better

  • In-house training teams who can support our clients and workers by delivering the most up-to-date training and development

  • Centralised compliance and Vetting teams – to ensure complete 100% compliance of all our workers

  • Attraction and talent acquisition teams – Operating nationally and locally to ensure we tailor our attraction to the local market conditions

 Need to start hiring effectively in Health & Social care?