Nursing homes fared particularly poorly in a new report on caregiver preferences, with only 7% saying they preferred to work in that setting.
The other results highlighted what many in senior care have known for a long time: The labor market is tough, and the ramifications could be extensive.
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 the 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 Skilled Nursing 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 workplaces, including a breakdown of what benefits workers might prioritize and where they prefer to work.
The 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.
Senior living and care 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 how they compare to the benefits and pay in other sectors in their area, Kurtyka explained.
“I think the companies that are going to win [will] 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 anyplace, so what they can do? They can be helpful, assist through that hiring process.”
Written by Maggie Flynn