A majority of caregivers are always looking for a better job, highlighting the stiff competition for labor in senior care.
Specifically, 65% of caregivers are “always looking for a better job,” while 97% are open to a job opportunity at any given time, according to new research findings from Chicago-based MyCNAjobs, which offers a suite of recruitment tools for senior care workers.
“Companies think that once they’ve made the hire, they’ve got the hire,” myCNAjobs CEO Brandi Kurtyka told Senior Housing News. “But the thing is, because this market is so competitive… on average, caregivers get three calls a week for work now.”
In other words, a caregiver does not go off the market even when they’ve chosen a place to work.
“What can you do to get competitive?” Kurtyka said, referring to what senior living companies should take from the report. “People are no longer just lining up at your door coming to work for you.”
The report drew from two studies, including a survey conducted in December 2017, and a pay analysis of more than 1 million caregivers across the United States. It addresses several factors related to the attitude of caregivers toward their workplace, including a breakdown of what benefits workers might prioritize and where they prefer to work.
The top setting of choice for caregivers was hospitals, with 27% listing that as their preferred option. Private family and home care agencies followed at 26% and 22%, respectively, while 18% of caregivers would choose assisted living. Nursing homes were the least preferred setting, at 7% of caregivers.
Senior living companies looking to distinguish themselves from their competitors also have to factor in more than just their peers in the aging industry, Kurtyka said. They need to be able to compete against such seemingly unrelated sectors as retail and fast food. More than 70% of caregivers have worked in the former sector, while 43% have worked in the latter, the report found.
As a result, senior living providers have to examine their local markets and do a thorough analysis to determine where they compare to the benefits and pay in other sectors in their area, Kurtyka explained.
“I think the companies that are going to win have a shift in mindset,” she explained. “Not with my direct competitor, the agency next door, what they’re doing. It’s not about that anymore. Caregivers can go work any place, so what they can do? They can be helpful, assist through that hiring process.”
Senior living providers have been taking steps to address competition for staffing. Five Star Senior Living (Nasdaq: FVE), based in Newton, Massachusetts, provides internal candidates with the opportunity to participate in an executive-director-in-training program. Tucson, Arizona-based Watermark Retirement Communities has been building relationships with government personnel, home care agencies and universities, as well as with health care leaders.
Providers also shouldn’t be afraid to think outside the box. Commonwealth Senior Living, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, holds a “Gas Up” event for its senior ‘iving associates that sees Commonwealth Senior Living President and CEO Richard Brewer attending to fill up the cars of the associates.
The event has resulted in Commonwealth actually hiring new employees, The Carroll News reported — a convenience store cashier at one of the events ended up working with Commonwealth for several years.
Written by Maggie Flynn