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UK healthcare recruitment sector is expanding – and not just because of the pandemic

Date Posted: 25 May, 2022


The difficulties and devastations of the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted just how important healthcare workers are. If we didn’t know their value before, we certainly do now – after months of frontline stress, struggles to clear treatment backlogs and get health services back on an even keel. 


As you might expect, urgent staff shortages and the rising demand for skilled healthcare

professionals during the pandemic has also meant that the recruitment market has grown. But it isn’t only Covid-19 that is behind increased recruitment activity within healthcare. Let’s take a look at some of the other factors at play… 


More than a million extra staff needed over the next ten years  


The health and social care sector is one of the UK’s largest employers. It has an estimated 4 million people working across a hugely varied range of roles in hospitals, care homes, private medical facilities, children’s homes and rehabilitation centres.  


But the industry is also known for a chronic shortage of skilled professionals, teamed with high staff turnover compared to other sectors.  


Research by the Health Foundation’s REAL Centre published in October 2021 warned that over a million new health and social care staff would be needed by 2030/31 in order to keep up with demand.  


The report estimated that an extra 480,000 healthcare professionals would be needed to help the sector recover from the pandemic and meet rising demand for services.  


An additional 627,000 social care staff will also be needed over the next decade. This amounts to a 55% increase over the period, and is four times the growth seen over the previous decade.  


Recruitment drives to ‘build back better’   


The pandemic undoubtedly pushed some healthcare professionals to leave the profession due to stress and burnout. However, one unexpected outcome is that others are looking to join it.  


The NHS recently launched a major recruitment drive to capitalise on renewed interest in healthcare careers, drawing on inspirational examples of healthcare ‘heroes’ within the sector. This could be advantageous for healthcare recruiters, potentially driving more candidates into the marketplace.  

Launching the organisation’s most recent recruitment campaign in 2021, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard told Sky News: 


“Working for the NHS lets you live a thousand lives through the patients and families you care for, and with around 350 different roles to choose from, there is something for everyone. 


“Joining the NHS was the best decision I ever made, and I’d encourage anyone, whether you’re a school leaver, recent graduate or simply looking for a new challenge, to consider joining – no matter what your experience or qualifications – a fulfilling, rewarding and exciting career awaits.” 


Improved recruitment technology enhances the candidate experience 


Advances in recruitment technology has made it easier for candidates to find and apply for jobs in healthcare, at least in some cases. Streamlined digital application and onboarding processes have helped to speed up the process.  


What’s more, new algorithmic matching systems enable recruiters to more accurately match employers and candidates, roles and skill sets.  


But there is always more to be done to improve the candidate experience, which will be crucial in tackling shortages and rising demand within the sector.   


For expert help sourcing the healthcare talent you need, get in touch with our specialists here at RGH.  


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