This topic should be used with other staffing topics, particularly:

It explores two key issues one dealing with pre-recruitment issues, the other after appointment, ie:

  1. how to find and recruit staff of the calibre required

  2. how to keep them in order to reduce turnover and the associated stresses of constant turnover.

Care providers should work towards having a workforce that is capable of meeting the needs of every one of its service users, keeps high standards of care and helps to keep the service viable as a business. To achieve these outcomes, they must attract, recruit and keep staff who have the necessary personal qualities, values, knowledge and skills to carry out their jobs.

Those responsible for employing staff will need to give careful consideration to every job at every level in the organisation. In care work, it is never just a matter of filling a vacancy, but thinking about how each person will relate to the service users, and how they will work with everyone else.

Staff retention is the flip side of staff recruitment. If one has recruited the right staff, how do you keep them? The organisational strategy will need to consider both sides together, not each on its own. As the demand for care and support grows, so does the need to recruit and retain more workers to deliver high quality care and support.

Skills for Care (2021) estimate that 430,000 care workers leave their job every year, and there are around 112,000 vacancies at any one time. Many care providers and their professional organisations are concerned that care staff shortages are increasing, and are likely to get worse because of Brexit, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the statutory requirement for all care homes staff to be fully vaccinated as a pre-condition of their employment. This takes effect from November 2021 and it is possible that the requirement will be extended to all care services.

Some movement in and out of the service in any set of jobs and at any level will inevitably occur, and is arguably desirable to prevent staleness and to introduce fresh thinking and practice.

In a care service, workforce planning and development are never static. Flexible approaches are needed in response to changing needs and circumstances. Staffing structures should never be too rigid to prevent adjustments being made to the changes taking place.

In practical terms, this means having the right balance between, say part-time and full-time working. The latter provides continuity and stability, the former responsiveness to changing needs and circumstances. Similar balances have to be struck in relation to staff’s personal qualities, knowledge and skills so that people complement and learn from one another.

Quick Facts

Key points you need to know on this topic.


Detailed information on all matters in this topic.