Purity Kirigo, Director of franchisor Match Options, was recently featured in ‘Recruitment Industry Now’ publication talking about the challenge of staffing with the NHS.
The focus on the feature was ideas from the coalface about combatting the skill shortages within the NHS, that we all recently seen highlighted across the UK media.
Purity outlined the fact that recruitment is a challenge in any industry, however the highly regulated healthcare sector can many it tougher than many others.
In the healthcare sector, employers have to fight against an acute skills shortage and an ageing population, but it is the only recruitment sector where there is a real ‘life and death’ outcome so organisations cannot take any chances with candidates who do not have the exact requisite skill set.
The acute shortage of qualified health staff across the board in the UK means organisations need help finding quality staff. The demand for qualified doctors and nurses has never been so high, both in the NHS and private care sector. Many are worried that the lack of qualified staff is undermining the quality of everything from community practice to intensive care nursing. But what can agencies like Match Options do to try and ease this burden?
High demand – so skilled employees in control
This is possibly the biggest issue facing the healthcare sector in regards to recruiting. The UK population is ever-ageing and the numbers of doctors, nurses and other healthcare practitioners is decreasing. This obviously puts all of the negotiating power into the hands of candidates and puts a great deal of pressure on health organisations.
One of the solutions is for hospitals and other healthcare organisations is to make a concerted effort to look after their staff a lot better and to create enticing benefits packages that will make people want to work for them. This means offering them better pay, better promotional opportunities, less strenuous hours, flexible working and generally treat them like the high end commodity that they are. It is even important to get the little things right, like providing working kettles and fridges. The candidates have all the power, so the only way to attract them is to value them. This is what Match Options tries to achieve with it’s candidate recruitment and retention planning.
Experience versus education
There has always been a question over whether you go for education or experience in the healthcare field. The simple answer has to be both. If experienced individuals are available and affordable then do not turn them away, as they won’t be available for long. Similarly with graduates, treat them like they are important. Hiring recent graduates is great for many healthcare providers because it’s cost-effective and rewarding, but be warned they will get gobbled up pretty quickly. Match Options also tries to look at forming partnerships/relationships with local universities and healthcare training programs, so they are reaching students before they come onto the market.
There will be an extra five million people over 65 in the next 20 years, which brings about a list of problems for the housing, health and social care sectors. While there’s no way to prevent people from retiring, healthcare organisations should begin developing proactive recruitment strategies that prepare for their departures. This will ease the burden associated with having to continually hire new individuals to fill vacant positions that are left behind by senior level employees.
Our ageing population is also placing huge pressure on our hospitals and care homes, who simply cannot find enough care staff. The lack of qualified medical staff is being exacerbated by the increase in population and life expectancy. Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said in the Commons recently that in the past six years, the number of people over 80 has increased by 340,000 and life expectancy has gone up by 12 months.
The same is true for the care sector, which is one of the fastest growing markets in the UK, and this trend can only continue. More and more elderly people will require care, but there simply will be no spaces available. The government will have to invest to create more care facilities, combined more home care, and care staff will have to be much better rewarded.
What can we do? We clearly need to look after our medical staff much better, reward them and make it a far more attractive profession to remain in. We also need to remove barriers to entry and encourage imports from abroad. This problem simple won’t go away, action is needed now.
Match Options Franchisee
Cambridge-based businessman, Marshal Konzvo, who launched his Match Options Healthcare Recruitment business in January 2017, is determined to try and do his bit to ease the skills shortage which is currently threatening the NHS.
Marshal, who is 37 outlines that so far he says things are going better than expected. Previously Marshal had worked in the IT sector for 12 years, where he managed to save enough money to finance his new business venture himself.
He explains: “It just felt like the right time to get involved in this sector, I had an idea I wanted to move into recruitment, but when I started to do my research into healthcare placements it started to really stand out. There basically has never been more demand for qualified healthcare practitioners, whether that’s doctors, nurses and in particular care staff. Organisations simply can’t find enough quality staff, so they need help and this is where we come in.”
Match Options is a recruitment agency providing healthcare staff on a temporary and permanent basis. It not only places doctors and nurses but healthcare assistants, care support workers, and domiciliary care workers (once CQC registered). It also places health workers in the likes of schools and prisons, meaning the market potential is vary varied.
Match Options has been successfully operating in the care sector since 1999 providing high quality services to the local communities it works in; there are currently seven company-owned branches and four franchisees throughout the UK. With the huge market potential on offer the company is now seeking additional franchisees who are committed and passionate about growing the business throughout the UK.