What skill shortages will mean for senior social care recruitment in 2015

Published: 16 December 2014

The war for talent is back as candidates have choice in their job search for the first time since 2010, according to Nick Cole from Berwick Partners.  

This will be most noticeably felt in social care leadership roles as councils look to build capacity with new skills and diverse experiences to help them meet the challenges of both integrating council services with the health sector and in developing more sophisticated commissioning models.

“We anticipate an under-supply of good quality candidates who have the leadership experience to tackle both the change in culture needed in developing integrated services whilst also managing the complex external relationships that come with the implementation of joint service delivery models”, says Nick.

And with talent shortages comes wage inflation. London based social care recruitment specialist Anna Jay continues, “We are now seeing the best Assistant Director level candidates in London being paid £100,000+, a 15-20% increase on pre-CSR 2010 levels. We need a really compelling case to tempt them away from their current role and our clients are having to stretch traditional salary bandings to land them”.

Jonathan Clark, Managing Partner of Berwick Partners’ Public Sector recruitment business concludes, “As we move into 2015 we will be using our team of specialist recruiters across the whole system to identify new talent. This means not only finding those in the local government sector with the potential to step up but also identifying individuals at a comparable level in Health, the Third Sector and private providers who we believe can bring relevant transferrable experience and skills. Having specialists across all sectors enables us to achieve much broader access and reach to talented individuals; the ability to look beyond the obvious and to secure candidates with a range of knowledge, skills and experience”.

When you are planning to appoint to senior social care roles in 2015:

  • Have a frank and realistic conversation with your recruitment partner at the start of the search about the art of the possible – where should and could you look beyond the obvious, where are you prepared to compromise and is the whole system signed up to this approach?
  • Articulate why your role and organisation is interesting and different.
  • Make the job attractive and do-able. Being too prescriptive about local government experience will limit the field so think carefully about how you present the person specification. Don’t ask for everything and anything – think about the essentials.
  • Show what the role will add to a prospective candidate’s career. The best people will only entertain a move that adds to their long term career progression so show them where this role could take them.
  • Pay as much as you can, be prepared to offer market supplements or additional benefits and don’t be afraid to appoint at the top end of the scale. Money isn’t everything but it’s vital to be competitive.
  • And finally, be realistic. This is recruitment not alchemy! A short shortlist from which you may confidently appoint is a great outcome.

For further advice, or to join the debate, please contact your local expert, Nick Cole in Leeds, Jonathan Clark in Birmingham or Anna Jay in London.

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