A report in the Guardian, earlier this month, has highlighted the valuable contribution that men can play within social care settings. However, men still make up only 18% of the social care workforce and in care home and domiciliary care settings, this figure is likely to be even lower.
One of the reasons for this low level of involvement seems to be the lingering belief that caring is women’s work and this assumption is backed up by Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, who said people see this as a female profession and agreed that there is a societal perception of women as carers.
At a time when recruitment of care workers is increasingly challenging, recruitment of increased numbers of men into the workforce could be one solution to your staffing problems. Employers rarely target men specifically, or take steps to overcome the barriers they may face to entering caring roles. Of course, you need to take steps to ensure you are not discriminating against women, but if men are under-represented in your service, you can take positive action to try and attract men to apply. Read on to find out more about how you could address staffing problems by attracting more men into caring roles.
The Future Care Workforce report, published by the International Longevity Centre UK, claims that there could be a shortfall of 718,000 care workers by 2025, suggesting that the current recruitment problems faced by social care employers could be dwarfed by those they face in the near future. To be successful, employers will need to be innovative and open-minded in their approach to recruitment, as traditional methods may cease to deliver care staff in the numbers that will be needed.
3 Steps to Recruit More Male Staff into Your Workforce
- Targeted advertising. Don’t simply rely on your current approach to advertising but consider how you can word your adverts to appeal to men. Make it clear that you want to appeal to them, include photographs of male carers in your materials, explicitly state that you welcome applications from men and try to ensure that your advertising reaches areas that are seen as traditionally male, such as sports and social clubs.
- Work with local schools. Engage with your local secondary schools at careers events and through work experience opportunities. Working with male students to change the perception that caring is not an exclusively female profession may help to improve the number of male school leavers seeking apprenticeships in health and social care, or seeking roles in care settings.
- Highlight career progression. For some men, who have been brought up to believe that caring offers little career progression, this can present a major barrier to entry. By emphasising the opportunity to obtain qualifications and progress into more senior roles, the appeal of working in care settings can be broadened.
Remember that whilst it’s fine to take positive action to encourage men to apply if men are specifically under-represented in your service, you must not give men preference over women during the rest of the recruitment process. After the application stage is complete, both men and women must be treated equally.
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