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Strained schedules, hiring issues, and seniors left without care. The caregiver shortage impacts everyone in the healthcare system, from patients to hiring managers.

With an aging population and increasing demand for personalized care, it may seem like things won’t get better. But finding a solution isn’t hopeless. There are key strategies that can help employers fill their open positions—and work towards ending the caregiver shortage overall. Let’s break them down.

The Caregiver Shortage By the Numbers

Before we tackle how to solve the caregiver shortage, it’s best to understand the problem. Here’s the state of the caregiver shortage today.

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, home care jobs will grow 25% by 2031. This means that there will be over 700,000 openings for workers each year over the next decade.
  • According to AARP, three out of four adults want to stay in their homes as they get older. This puts additional pressure on home healthcare services as they struggle to meet demand.
  • Home care workers often struggle to make ends meet. Approximately 19% of personal care assistants live in poverty, compared to only 6.8% of all Americans. Low wages can often push healthcare workers out of the home care field, even if they feel a personal connection to the job.

What Can Employers Do?

There are some aspects of the caregiver shortage that employers can’t truly control. For example, employers can’t change the number of aging adults, or the increasing desire to age in place.

But while some things are out of your control, there are key strategies agencies can use to help reduce the caregiver shortage. With these important actions, employers can bring more people into home health—filling their open positions and ultimately helping to fix the home health aide shortage.

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1. Build Career Paths

Some people may hesitate to take a job in home health care if they’re unsure how it would translate into a long-term career. Similarly, it’s difficult for current home healthcare workers to handle the same duties day in and day out—especially for low wages—without any sense of progression.

You can help combat this feeling of inertia by creating clear paths for advancement. This can include promotions, raises after a certain number of years, or leadership opportunities.

Consider partnering with local institutions to offer continuing education for interested employees. Employees looking to learn and grow may be interested in additional training, in anything from crisis management to bedside manner. Advertise these opportunities in your job descriptions in order to attract more candidates—and slowly, over time, keep talented workers in the industry.

2. Recruit in the Community

Some people may be unaware that they have the qualifications for a home health job. Even fewer people may recognize the potential for a rewarding and lasting career in this field.

Reach out to community organizations, such as community centers and non-profits, to spread the word about careers in home health. Some organizations may allow you to hang fliers or post ads in community publications. Still others may allow you to give a presentation to potential candidates about work opportunities in your industry.

As you give these presentations, be prepared to answer specific questions that may arise. Consider pairing these talks with attractive take-homes, like branded pens or erasers, so attendees have something to remind them of you after the fact. Just make sure that these take-homes are items that people will actually use.

3. Offer Flexible Schedules

Increasing your salaries can be a powerful strategy, but it’s not always possible. Luckily, there are other benefits you can offer.

Flexible work schedules, for example, can attract more employees to your company without a large upfront cost. Candidates will appreciate that their jobs fit more easily into their lives. If a candidate is looking for flexibility, this may be enough to get them interested.

Haven’t tried flexible scheduling before? You might consider exploring shift scheduling software. This software can assign open shifts automatically, quickly calculate payroll for irregular and regular shifts, and carry out even more functions that make flexible schedules manageable.

4. Use Employee Referrals to Your Advantage

A strong employee referral program can both help you hire and boost candidate engagement. Not only are employee referrals one of the best sources of candidates—if you offer referral incentives, they can also be an opportunity for your current employees to earn extra cash.

Employee referral programs only work if they’re properly advertised. Learn how to promote yours.

Staying Competitive During a Home Care Candidate Shortage

Fixing the caregiver shortage will take time and collective efforts from multiple groups. So how can you hire competitively in the meantime?

We’re here to help. Check out our guide to help you hire home health aides, covering everything from writing the best job descriptions to optimizing your candidate experience.

Better Hiring With Apploi

Apploi’s hiring, management, and onboarding tools can help you navigate the caregiver shortage and fill your open positions. From hiring to payroll, Apploi is here to streamline your staffing process. Schedule a demo today.

Melanie Boroosan

Over her six years in healthcare administration, Melanie has managed human resources, legal, compliance, payroll, and recruitment efforts at a corporate level. This oversight granted her a deep appreciation for the unique needs of healthcare managers, and for the direct ways that business operations affect the wellbeing of each employee. As Apploi’s Director of Healthcare Innovation, Melanie draws from her experience in healthcare HR and ancillary long-term care to pursue a vision of holistic healthcare staffing. Her work is rooted in the knowledge that great care begins with improving quality of life for all healthcare workers.