The number of healthcare job applications to the NHS have gone up since September.

The end to the health service’s dismal two years for hiring has coincided with a 4 percent dip in the number of new jobs listed since September. It has narrowed what was becoming a widening gap between jobs and available candidates. 

The software business Occupop has released the figures in their annual healthcare recruitment report.

Things looking up

It says the NHS struggled with staff exodus and slow recruitment because of mandated vaccines and tough working environments.

But, claims the growing job applications signal things might finally be looking up.

David Banaghan is the co-founder of Occupop. He said there has been an increase in UCAS applications for medical degrees: “Healthcare has been one of the hardest hit, and uniquely challenged sectors over the past year. But there are silver linings – young people have seen the heroism of the NHS during an extraordinary time.”

Govt recruitment plans achievable but needs focus across sectors

The UK Government plans to recruit 50,000 more nurses by 2024; staffing was a key issue for the NHS even before the pandemic.

This is expected to increase as patient demand continues to rise and Mr Banaghan suggests enhanced flexible working might be one method of attracting and hiring medics. 

He also suggests creating a sustainable career pathway by allowing local authorities and healthcare providers to pool resources.  The Care Quality Commission State of Care Report revealed that adult social care providers have been improving career progression opportunities by partnering with other social and healthcare providers.

Overseas recruitment has also been suggested to help meet the 50,000 target. This has become easier since February 2021 after the UK Government updated its code of practice (COP) for the international recruitment of health and social care staff. The number of places the UK can now recruit from has been reduced to 47 countries, down from 152.

Jobs adverts have increased a whole

Meanwhile, the number of new job adverts has hit a new high with more than 270,000 posted in the first week of November.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) Jobs Recovery Tracker also says there were 3.51 million active job adverts last week.

The jobs most needed are prison officers, scaffolders, dentists and vets. The declines were seen in management roles in the hospitality sector, including publicans, restaurant and catering managers, and hotel and accommodation managers.

Chief Executive of the REC, Neil Carberry said because it’s a jobseeker’s market, businesses need to think about how they will attract staff effectively. He said: “Professional recruiters are a vital tool for businesses at times like these. Government can help by working with business organisations on skills, immigration and unemployment policies that boost labour supply, helping businesses grow and the UK to prosper.”