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For Men – A New Future in Care?
In a report from the International Longevity Centre - UK there are a number of challenges to the Care Sector in the years ahead.
Inevitably the need for sound funding is part of that picture but HR challenges will need addressing irrespective of success or otherwise in that area. A few suggestions emerge from the report:
With 80% of care sector employees being women, why wouldn’t men be attracted? Of course: the stereotyping of the typical care worker.
But there are many men in the low paid work arena. Convincing men of the rewards of working in the care sector as opposed to hospitality, cleaning or retail may provide opportunities for a better balanced workforce. This may in turn provide a more stable working environment, reduce levels of stress, create higher quality of care, and improve retention.
Recruitment advertising needs to challenge the stereotype.
Improve training and development
Significant opportunities for training exist through colleges of FE in particular. There is inevitably a time-cost and NVQ qualifications boost the employability and market value of carers.
But retention is not necessarily affected by employability because wise employees remain where they are valued and training demonstrates that value. Investing in training also attracts better applicants and increases the performance of carers and the quality of care delivered.
Furthermore appropriate training and the prospect of career progression will be attractive over the gender divide.
Respect the National Minimum Wage
Travel between assignments during the working day needs to be paid and there is substantial pressure (both from legislation and good practice) to eliminate “sleep-overs” or at least make sure they are lawfully remunerated. Sadly , those who observe the legitimate expectations of the law and society often find themselves competing with others who do not. It is shameful that the care sector has the lowest level of compliance with NMW legislation of any sector. As the report cited above says, “we must address the underlying causes” of low pay and this will involve more than just care providers.
Malcolm Martin of Employer Solutions – QCS Expert Human Resources Contributor