At a time when the elderly and disabled population is growing, long-term care professionals are more in demand than ever before. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 20 percent of the United States population is disabled. And the United Nations predicts that disability percentages will rise worldwide, partially because of an increase in the aged population. Yet even as these numbers grow, the number of trained long-term care professionals is expected to decline.
A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health calls the lack of available workers in long-term care a “crisis,” citing worker shortages caused by a range of factors. The dismal number of workers is in sharp contrast to the need for workers in this sector and the expected growth of healthcare jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the healthcare employment sector will grow 30 percent by 2020. With many jobs to fill, and too few workers to fill them, long-term care organizations face a competitive recruiting environment. One way to deal with this is by recruiting from the organizations that educate and train future healthcare employees. This recruitment approach should include the following:
- Partnering With Educational Institutions: The Institute for the Future of Aging Services recommends contacting educational institution leaders to create partnerships that expose students to long-term care opportunities.
- Working to Raise Awareness: Many individuals interested in healthcare careers may not be aware of the opportunities in long-term care or the great need for workers in this sector. On-campus recruitment efforts can help build awareness in the student population and among faculty members, administrators and licensing board professionals.
- Implementing Training Programs: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health cites poor investment in the education and training of long-term care workers as one cause of the shortage. Rather than merely seeking access to a well-trained workforce, long-term care organizations can increase their candidate pools by creating internships and training programs.
- Creating Supportive Programs: The long-term care worker pool isn’t limited to recent graduates. Adult learners and career changers represent another category from which to recruit. Organizations can benefit from creating programs that support these adults in learning. This can include flexible work and training hours as well as tuition assistance. Loan forgiveness programs, which provide financial incentive for completing education and training, may prove helpful as well.
- Tracking Candidates: An applicant tracking system should be used to help talent acquisition professionals track their recruitment efforts at these educational institutions. By storing this information online, recruiters will be able to stay more organized and take note of past conversations they had with candidates so that they can have high quality conversations in the future.
With the fierce competition for healthcare talent, going directly to the source may give long-term care organizations an edge in finding qualified applicants. Partnerships with the educational institutions that prepare individuals for careers in healthcare should ensure a steady source of quality job candidates.
Want to learn more about improving your recruitment process? Download our white paper: Improving the Candidate Experience: Five Best Practices for Continuing Care Recruiting, to learn how your long-term care organization can remain a step ahead in the war for healthcare talent.