New research: 22% of social care workers worry about job security

More than a fifth of social care professionals worry about losing their jobs – considerably more than in 2009 in the wake of high-profile scandals affecting the sector, according to new research from specialist recruiter Randstad Care.

In a study of over 2,000 British employees, Randstad Care accessed feelings of job security in different professions around the UK. 22% of social care professionals reported a lack of job security. This was considerably higher than the number of social workers who reported feeling a lack of job security in 2009 (14%).

The findings suggest that job cuts and increased workloads as a result of Government austerity measures are having a huge impact on the social care workforce.

Social care professionals reported higher levels of job insecurity than those working in nursing (21%) and education (19%) – sectors which have so far been protected from spending cuts in the 2010 and 2013 Spending Reviews.

Job Security and Professional Fulfilment  

Job security is a key factor in professional fulfilment and a vital part of a fulfilling career.  Academic research suggests that a lack of job security is often associated with lower well-being at work.  In addition, job security among the workforce is important for employers because it increases employee motivation, productivity and reduces the likelihood of staff taking time off work due to illness.

Victoria Short said: “Job security isn’t just a concern for candidates – it represents a serious risk for employers too. Firstly, if social care professionals don’t feel secure in their jobs, they are more likely to look for something else. Any organisation is only as successful as its employees, so it’s vital that care providers retain valued staff as best they can. Secondly, professional fulfilment increases productivity at work, which can bring strong benefits to any organisation. In order to reassure their best staff, it’s vital that managers support staff as best they can through training and mentoring programmes.”

Coping with Job Insecurity

Social care professionals are getting better at coping with job insecurity and fewer now feel pressured to demonstrate ‘presenteeism’ and work longer hours (4%), than they did in 2009 (13%). They are still working hard, but they are now doing so by becoming more efficient in the workplace. In 2009, working smarter was a tactic employed by just 8% of the sector – in 2014 this has increased to 21%.

Fewer social workers are considering switching careers in the face of job insecurity. In 2014, only 2% would consider switching careers, but back in 2009, 9% of social workers said they were considering a career change.

Victoria Short continued: “It’s refreshing to find that those working in social care remain loyal to the profession, despite ongoing challenges faced by the sector. Social work is a highly vocational career choice and regardless of increasing workloads and pressures, it is still one of the very few careers that makes such an immediate and positive impact on people’s lives. “