The need for care workers in the UK’s ageing population continues to grow rapidly. However, care homes face challenges recruiting and retaining staff to meet this rising demand. One important trend aims to widen the talent pool of new carers by improving diversity and inclusion in the sector.
Diversity in Healthcare
Traditionally, care home staff have lacked diversity, with a largely female, white, British-born workforce. But the demographics of the UK itself are shifting, with population growth driven by immigration and rising diversity. Care homes that don’t keep up risk poor cultural competency in care. Residents come from many backgrounds, so a diverse workforce with a range of perspectives is key to providing individualised, compassionate care. Diversity in healthcare is more than just hitting a quota.
Diversity Improves Care
Things are improving though and there are now concerted efforts across the sector to increase diversity in healthcare sectors. Representation and inclusion for people of all ethnicities, religions, LGBTQ+ people, neurodiverse individuals and those with disabilities. Many care organisations are installing dedicated diversity and inclusion leads to assess their practices and drive change.
More targeted recruitment campaigns aim to draw interest from marginalised groups who may not have considered care as a career path previously. By having strategic job advertising and n using inclusive language in job listings,roles can appeal to a wider spectrum of jobseekers. Showcasing diversity in recruitment materials, and outreach via community leaders are some approaches used. Structured interviews and objective assessments in hiring help reduce unconscious bias.
It’s not just about getting diverse applicants in the door though. Providers must also retain staff by ensuring an inclusive workplace culture. Anti-discrimination policies are reviewed and improved while regular equality training challenges biases. Employee resource groups, networking events and mentoring build support and development opportunities for minority groups.
Leadership and Management
Strong leadership is crucial; managers modelling openness, flexibility and psychological safety allow issues to be raised safely. Regular diversity audits identify areas for improvement. Some standout providers have achieved the ‘Leader in Diversity’ accreditation, demonstrating their commitment. However, there is still substantial progress needed sector-wide to improve diversity in healthcare.
Benefits of Diversity
The benefits of diversity are massive. Residents from varying ethnic and religious backgrounds often feel more comfortable with carers who share their culture. Having relatable role models for people considering care roles is created and makes roles more appealing. Workplaces tap into diverse perspectives – improving decision-making, problem-solving and innovation.
Most importantly, a workforce that reflects modern society allows care homes to show genuine understanding, respect and compassion to all. Recruiting for diversity should not be a tick-box exercise, but a way for care providers to live their values of dignity and respect for all.
The pandemic and Brexit have shined a harsh spotlight on the chronic staff shortages in the care sector. With collaborative efforts from providers, government and local communities, a concerted drive to increase workforce diversity represents a major opportunity. Valuing each person’s unique experience empowers better care and outcomes for residents. The face of care is changing – and a vibrant, inclusive workforce is key to its future. Looking for your next role? Contact the team at Cucumber Recruitment for more.