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International Social Care Workers:

Policy Research Programme: Workforce Initiative. International Social Care Workers:. Shereen Hussein Jill Manthorpe Martin Stevens. People and places in an exchangeable time. The Research (July 2007 - July 2009). Quantitative analysis of existing data

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International Social Care Workers:

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  1. Policy Research Programme: Workforce Initiative International Social Care Workers: Shereen Hussein Jill Manthorpe Martin Stevens People and places in an exchangeable time

  2. The Research (July 2007 - July 2009) • Quantitative analysis of existing data • National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC) • General Social Care Council (GSCC) register of social workers • National perspectives • Recruitment agencies • Key stakeholders • Local insights (6 local authority case study sites, including independent sector) Employers/human resource managers • International workers and their colleagues • Refugees and asylum seekers • People using services and carers

  3. Progress so far • Literature Review completed • Interviews with 20 recruitment agencies • Interviews with 15 stakeholders (policy, regulatory and carer’s organisations) • Secondary data analysis of NMDS-SC • Obtained access to 6 sites - fieldwork in progress

  4. Early findings • Based on: • Literature review • Recruitment agencies’ interviews • Stakeholders’ interviews • Secondary data analysis of NMDS-SC

  5. Perceived advantages of recruiting international workers • Addressing workforce shortfalls: • Demographic changes and high demand • Staff shortages • Status, pay, unclear career path, stress • Attributes of workers • Hard workers; highly motivated; appreciate their jobs (and the pay) • Different perspectives • Bring something new • International learning • Knowledge of service users’ needs from similar backgrounds

  6. Perhaps another advantage of international workers… “...are less likely to quibble and will accept worse conditions than established citizens; getting on with the job and not complaining too much.” (Refugee organisation director)

  7. Perspectives from Agencies • ‘We want hard working people and people coming in from the Eastern bloc are more hard working, or can be, than some of the people who are already existing in the market here. Those people have become complacent and often want to use the system for their own benefits rather than for the benefits of the clients – the workers are not so reliable as the people who are coming into the country and are not used to the social system’.

  8. Difficulties in employing international workers • Recruitment process • Evidencing CRB and Police checks • Obtaining Visas • Retrieving references • After placement • Qualifications’ recognition uncertain and lengthy • Adequacies of induction and training • Problematic nature of work • Requirements for personal and cultural sensitivity • Different concepts of ‘care’ • Language and communication issues

  9. Agencies’ Perspectives • ‘ Process of employing from overseas can be off putting… Government should make overseas employment procedures more streamlined – visa and sponsorship requirements are burdensome.’ • ‘They [social workers from US] do a lot more counselling and actively working to keep families together. In the UK it’s all assessment, assessment, assessment. And again, some of the social workers from Africa and India are more involved with social development at home and that’s brilliant in those circumstances’.

  10. Language and cultural issues • ‘We have turned quite a large number [of Polish workers] away. We’ve had quite a few applications but because of the language problem we’ve had to turn people away. We’ve said, ‘when your English improves come back to us, but your standard of English isn’t adequate at the moment’. Managing director, 020

  11. Responses to international workers vary • ‘There are racial trends in employability – general trends … Nigerian care assistants have problems with literacy – they [employers] do know this – we challenge this …’ • ‘The majority of [unqualified] workers are probably Afro-Caribbean. And that’s a bit out of balance …. So again, if we can get people from Poland and other countries that are obviously white nationals, then that would be great to balance up the care ratios and the diversity.’ • ‘Another agency that I worked for had some Somalis and their religion said they had to do certain things at certain times of the day and that is a problem.’

  12. International social workers –the professionals • When recruiting directly from abroad: Local authorities target countries where social work education is compatible with the UK • Australia; New Zealand; South Africa • More recently from the US and Canada • Social workers tend to come for a specific period of time • Specific contract • Gap year – extended vacation

  13. International direct care workers (care assistants, home care etc) • Often recruited from Migrants already in UK • A recent influx from Eastern Europe • More from ‘Other White’ ethnicities • Younger • In their twenties • Highly mobile • Stepping stone until qualifications recognised or English improves • Less family ties; willing to move geographically • Sometimes over qualified (on paper) for the jobs eg graduates

  14. NMDS data and workers who had their previous job ‘abroad’ • Larger proportion of males than average • A recent influx of workers from Eastern Europe • Younger on average • White (other) more likely to be care workers while Asians tend to be senior care workers • May reflect those with non equivalent ‘nursing’ qualifications from the Philippines and other Asian countries • On average more qualified than other workers (78% with at least NVQ3 vs. 51%) • Most of them work as care or senior care workers (75%)

  15. Perceived motivations of international workers • Vary by type of work and reason for joining the UK workforce • Some arrive at an early stage in their careers, maybe temporary to gain experience? • Some may be older with families → resettlement may become a reality? • From A8 to obtain better work, may be a more mobile group?

  16. Agency work suits International workers • Flexibility and Variety: opportunity to ‘try something new’. • Easier to obtain temporary work: • ‘…if they [overseas workers] are very new to the country potentially working for an agency would be their first path of employment’

  17. Possible Implications 1 Employers & education • Fine tuning induction and training – use of government funds • Qualification recognition & upskilling, ‘career’ models and pathways • Access to Social Work degree & marketing (deliberate targeting?) • Relevance of post qualifications (PQs) and continuous professional development to those without UK qualification foundations • Assisting managers and supervisors to get the most from their staff

  18. Possible implications 2 • Service users and carers • How to respond to cultural and language differences? • Influence over stability of care staff? • Colleagues • Working with colleagues who have different frames of reference professionally and in practice • Workforce planning • Retention and investment judgments over short and long term • Qualification recognition or upskilling. • International workers • Career path • Possible discrimination and rights

  19. Contacts and References • Further information • Shereen Hussein: shereen.hussein@kcl.ac.uk; • tel: 020 7848 1669 • Hussein S. Manthorpe J and Stevens M (2008) International social care workers: Initial outcomes, workforce experiences and future expectations; Phase I Interim report to the DH, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London. • Hussein S. Manthorpe J and Stevens M. (advance access) People in places: a qualitative exploration of recruitment agencies’ perspectives on the employment of international social workers in the UK. British Journal of Social Work 2008, doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcn131

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