Home Health Aide Gives Patient Medicine

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For home-care agencies, the national labor “shortage” has led to a burgeoning industrywide staffing crisis.

The fragmented home-care industry, despite offering employment in a job sector that’s poised to grow more than any other sector by 2029, is desperate to find caregivers for older people and those with disabilities. It’s work that pays near the minimum wage and can be emotionally and physically taxing.

This is happening at a time when there’s a tight labor market that’s accompanied the gradual state-by-state reopening throughout the US. Restaurants, including major chains like Subway and Dunkin’, are struggling to hire enough employees to return to pre-pandemic business hours. The most recent jobs report in April showed the US added just 226,000 jobs, far below the 1 million economists had predicted.

Although anecdotal evidence from employers indicates some can’t find the workers to meet rising consumer demand, not everyone agrees on what to call what’s happening to the US labor market. One Washington Post headline stated its interpretation outright: “It’s not a ‘labor shortage.’ It’s a great reassessment of work in America.”

Seven home-care-industry professionals told Insider that applicants were ghosting interviewers and not showing up to new-hire orientations in numbers higher than they said they’d ever seen. While the franchise-dominated industry has historically been prone to high turnover, the recent staffing issues are leading to delays for patients, some of whom are in dire need of care.

Some franchise operators said their home-care job applicants were explicitly pointing to better income from unemployment benefits when turning down job offers. A lack of childcare and better-paying, less-grueling jobs elsewhere have also made it hard for home-care companies to fill vacant caregiving roles.

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Jennifer Tucker, the chief operating officer of HomeWatch Caregivers, which has over 200 home-care franchises in 33 states, said the staffing crisis was “the biggest thing happening in home care.” HomeWatch’s competitors are experiencing the same issue, she said.

“We’re talking about a workforce where we’re competing with Chipotle and Amazon,” Tucker said, invoking the restaurant and retail giants’ recent decision to raise wages. “They’re not necessarily entry level, but they tend to be a bit lower-skilled. They might hop around.”

Home-care operators say bigger unemployment checks and other job opportunities are contributing to their staffing issues 

Nationwide, demand for home care has risen as clients, typically older Americans, or their families feel more comfortable seeking out in-person care amid widespread vaccination and declining coronavirus cases. 

But franchise operators hoping to hire more caregivers to staff these cases are finding that applicants from job-posting sites like Indeed are not showing up for interviews.

Kirk Fisher, who runs a HomeWatch franchise in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for the past six years, said staffing was harder than it’d ever been. 

“We get eight people per week scheduled to interview. We generally have two show up, and we generally have one of them show up for orientation,” Fisher said. “Previously we could hire three people per week without much difficulty at all.”

The day he spoke with Insider, an applicant told him …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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