Banner Default Image

Key Findings from the Children's Homes Salary and Workforce Insights Report

Back to Blogs
Blog Img

Key Findings from the Children's Homes Salary and Workforce Insights Report

Pay levels, working conditions and professionalisation are prevailing concerns for professionals in the Children’s Homes sector, whilst organisations are crying out for more staff and financial resources – that’s among the key findings of the Charles Hunter Associates’ 2024 Salary and Workforce Insights: Children’s Homes report. 

In our salary report, we surveyed both employers and workers in the children’s homes sector, and delved deep into the sentiments of professionals who operate at the coal face of this vital segment of social care. The picture painted by their insights speaks to the challenges facing the sector, in no small part due to government policy and funding issues. Despite the difficulties organisations face, however, many employees continue to find their work rewarding and are willing to recommend working in a Children’s Home. 

Read on for key insights we’ve uncovered for the Children’s Home sector in England and Wales. 

What Workers Want – and What They Don’t

Salaries, surprisingly, did not quite top the list of resignation factors for Children’s Home employees – that position is reserved for the quality of the work environment, which 74% of employees told us was more important than pay. 

Non-salary factors, particularly those related to work-life balance, are just as significant as pay for professionals in this sector, with observable implications for employee retention and engagement. 

Delving into the reasons why workers have quit (or want to quit) their current employer, many cited issues with management, excessive working hours, workplace mental health and stress challenges, and a lack of staff support and training. Coupled with factors such as long commutes – most workers are travelling over 20 miles to work each day – our report explores the dimensions presenting employers with opportunities to improve their staff retention.

Recruitment Challenges for Children’s Homes Jobs

Discussions about workforce retention in the Children’s Homes sector are incomplete without a close look at talent attraction and recruitment difficulty.

There appears to be a consensus amongst employers and workers about the forces behind hiring difficulty – such as the need for increased awareness of the importance of Children’s Homes jobs, the remuneration on offer, additional government funding and support, and career progression opportunities. 

Fewer than 30% of employees applied directly to land their current role, with two-thirds saying they were headhunted, applied through an agency or word of mouth, further indicating the uphill battle organisations face regarding talent attraction. Without the support of social care recruitment providers, it’s difficult to estimate how much more acute the sector’s staffing challenges could be. 

Less than 30% of current employees applied directly for their positions, indicating that the majority were either headhunted, applied through an agency, or heard about the opportunity through word of mouth. Without the assistance of social care recruitment agencies, it's difficult to gauge the true extent of the sector's staffing difficulties. These figures underscore the ongoing need for partnership with agencies, especially those that have an intimate understanding of how the sector works and a proven track record in safety and compliance.


Pay Trends

With the increase in the national minimum wage, employers are certainly under increasing pay pressure, exacerbated by workers at all levels advocating for higher pay in the face of mounting inflation. 

Whilst pay may not always be the primary reason for employees to leave their roles, it undeniably ranks high on their list of concerns. Our research reveals that compared to other specialties working with children, salaries in Children’s Homes lag significantly behind. For instance, they fall approximately 7% below the starting band for paediatric nursing, and a staggering 73% less than that of children’s social workers.

This wage discrepancy hasn't gone unnoticed by employers, who recognise its detrimental impact on attracting and retaining talent. Low pay has emerged as a significant barrier to expanding the current workforce, a concern magnified by the fact that vacancies in Children’s Homes have reached a seven-year peak.


Professionalising the Children’s Home Sector

Both employers and workers agree that more professionalisation of the sector is needed to uplift recruitment and retention of the sector’s workforce. In essence, more work must be done to improve community perceptions and help this care specialisation to be seen as a viable long-term career option, rather than unskilled work. 

Our survey respondents suggested several avenues towards changing the perception of the sector, including more dialogue with education institutions to showcase careers in children’s homes and establishing a nationally recognised career path that mirrors the value placed on professions like teaching. 

Further, providing more flexibility in certification requirements beyond the traditional QCF3 route can accommodate a broader range of individuals interested in entering the field. 

Find Help from a leading Social Care Recruitment Agency

The workforce challenges faced by children’s homes require a coordinated effort on the part of employers, government and education institutions to devise practical and targeted solutions. This entails not only increasing funding and salaries but also improving the status and reputation of Children’s Homes jobs.

To explore our findings in detail, access and download the report here

At Charles Hunter Associates, a social care recruitment agency established in 2009, we’ve supported over 50,000 professionals with finding roles in Children’s Homes and other social care specialisations. Currently providing staffing and training services to over 100 clients, we stand ready to support organisations in overcoming their staffing hurdles and ensuring the provision of exceptional care to those in need. Contact us today to find out how we can help.