With the press highlighting talent shortages in nursing and new legislation around ensuring safe staffing levels in the NHS, concerns are rising. Karen Hedge, national director of Scottish Care which represents independent health and social care providers said that “The bill in itself can’t magically create nurses. As much as there is whole load of other work going on around that in terms of increasing the number of student nursing places, new models of care and so on, the bill in itself will not create more nurses” (Shropshire Star). 

Being such a vital sector in the UK economy, we take a look at what nursing currently looks like as a job market. Here is what Adzuna’s recent Job Market Spotlight on Healthcare and Nursing has to say.

Described as essential to society, the roles this report looks into are believed to be a good representative of the job market of the UK overall. With talent pools scarce and vacancies many, it comes as no surprise that the past twelve months has seen salaries increase when it comes to healthcare and nursing roles. However the current rate of the sector’s expansion and the need for more staffing has put extra pressure on healthcare employers nationally.

The biggest fish in the pond.

According to the Adzuna report, the top five private employers by the number of vacancies are Specsavers, Care UK, BMI Healthcare, Voyage Care and Barchester Healthcare. As of June 2018, there were a total of 84,539 vacancies across this sector with 15,542 being live NHS vacancies.

The first six months of 2018 saw the number of vacancies decline by 18% which is “significantly faster than the general decline of 3.8% year on year”. What’s interesting is that whilst the average UK salary saw a downturn in real terms, healthcare staff are ahead of inflation and salaries are set to increase even further in the next three years.

The level of interest in healthcare roles appears to be low with the report stating that healthcare and nursing ranks 25th out of the 28 sectors in regards to the average number of clicks per vacancy. However, this may be due to some roles being specialised and therefore requiring a specific skills set for the candidate to be considered for the role. The real question may be around the quality of applications rather than the quantity. The roles getting the most attention include healthcare assistantcare coordinator and occupational health advisor with emergency ambulance driver apparently being one of the top jobs in terms of interest!

Brexit and immigration.

The politics and opinions around Brexit and its impact on this sector can be debated all day long but what do the statistics report? The report identifies “since the vote to leave the EU, the number of nurses and midwives coming to work in Britain from Europe plunged by 89%”. Furthermore with recent news identifying nearly a quarter of UK nursing students dropping out of their three-year degrees before they graduate, the staffing crisis is still a concern nationwide.

It’s a simple formula - a decline in talent pools in the UK plus fewer workers from abroad results in a sector that may struggle to fill all its vacancies. Not to mention the growing impact of an ageing population, of which 18%,according to the ONS,  are 65 and over.

A brighter future.

To ensure that the future needs can be met with today’s workforce, there are many factors to consider. The government have already promised a pay increase in the NHS, showing their awareness of what needs to be done to sell the roles to attract more candidates. The report believes that this sector is unlikely to be majorly impacted by automation in roles with very few roles having been at risk of a decline in vacancies such as pharmacy assistants where a machine can fill prescriptions automatically. The human touch will always be key in this sector and it is one where relationships need to be built and maintained. Training will also play a key role in ensuring staff are able to keep up with the challenges thrown their way, and employers will need to have a bigger focus on workplace perks and benefits to attract and retain candidates.

Whether you are looking for a new worker or looking to retain your existing members of staff, your recruitment and retention strategy will no doubt always have room for improvement. If we can assist in helping you build your dream team, then please get in touch.