There’s no escaping the fact that our ageing population is increasing. According to government statistics, there are ten million people in the UK who are over 65, and by 2050 this is predicted to have risen to 19 million. We are all feeling the pressures for the demand of care growing at an astonishing rate. It’s a reality that poses challenges as we battle to fill that demand in our recruitment process.
Alongside life expectancy increasing at a dramatic rate, the age at which individuals can receive their state pension is also increasing. While this in itself could cause worry and concern for many, there is no doubt that the older workforce in the UK is going to increase. This should be seen as a golden opportunity for the care industry.
The prospect of getting older can be a daunting experience, particularly for those that are working and finding their role is demanding and stressful. Too many individuals believe they are too old for a career change, but at the same time the thought of settling down into full-time retirement is an unwanted or financially impossible alternative.
At Nurse Plus we have noticed an increase in our older workforce over the last couple of years and the quality care they provide has been welcomed. With a growing demand for staff who have the skills to be able to deal with illnesses that particularly affect older adults, such as dementia, those with more life experience seem to have a natural ability to empathise with the challenges of ageing.
Many are already providing a caring role in their community, supporting neighbours with transport to medical appointments, helping with housework or gardening chores, cooking meals and providing companionship; skills easily transferrable to the care sector.
One of our carers, Avril, who is 68, recently told us about why she enjoys her career in care. “It wasn’t until I was 41 that I began my career in care, working in a residential home. I started working for Nurse Plus in 2000 where I also provided care in nursing and care homes. I now enjoy my role as a Home Care Worker, supporting people at home, where I’m able to work flexibly in the evening.
“I love that my job is flexible as I have grandchildren, the money is handy, I enjoy meeting new people and the work helps me to stay active.
At a different stage in life, these individuals will naturally be looking for different things from their career choice, compared to the younger workforce. Their motivators will be very contrasting. Career progression will probably not be an influencer, where as feeling supported and valued will carry more importance. This age group will often want to make a difference to those in their community, being able to build valuable relationships.
Consider your key messages at all stages of the recruitment process, from advertising right through to the interview process.
There will be much to value when your workforce consists of a wide age range of individuals. Each group will bring their own skills, talents and motivations, while you will have a wider range of individuals covering different working patterns, helping to fill in those blanks…
Pamela Bruce is Managing Director of Nurse Plus UK. Her career in healthcare started over 20 years ago in domiciliary care and progressed into the recruitment industry in both healthcare and commercial. Pamela was one of the original founders of Nurse Plus. Nurse Plus was established in 2005 by a group of experienced healthcare and recruitment experts. Since then the company has grown rapidly and provides homecare and nursing agency services, with over 50 branches across the UK.