What happened to home care recruiting in 2021, and what does it mean for your agency in 2022?

Updated: Mar 4



Summary: Federal unemployment benefits did correlate to the hiring difficulties experienced by home care agencies in 2021, but the end of those benefits was not the miracle cure many agencies were hoping for.


In the Carework Club, we can keep you updated on national home care hiring trends every month, plus give your recruiting team the training and tools they need to be at the top of the chart.


If your home care agency is struggling with recruiting, you’re certainly not alone. The market has been getting more competitive for years, but that was greatly accelerated by the pandemic and the associated labor shortage. Home care agencies are finding themselves struggling to attract and retain caregivers. This is causing many agencies to shrink, despite the growing demand for their services.


At Carework, we had a front-row seat to how the pandemic and labor shortage impacted all sizes and kinds of home care agencies in 2021. We have more experience and data than an individual agency could ever get by itself. That data and experience can help guide your agency to success in 2022, so let’s dive in.


% Of Applicants Hired: This metric is the overview of the entire hiring pipeline. How many online caregiver applicants actually got hired by the agency?


In 2021, this number was very volatile. This is what caused the emotional roller coaster that many home care agency owners were on.




In March 2021, this metric reached the highest conversion rates that we saw all year. 9.19% of caregiver applicants were hired. It seems that many job seekers in the U.S. felt panicked when federal unemployment benefits were forecasted to end. That drove a lot of job applications and hiring. Many agencies began to feel relieved- at last, the end was in sight!


Unfortunately, that was not actually the case. The federal benefits were extended. Caregiver hiring conversions plummeted again over the summer, reaching the lowest conversion rate of the entire year in August 2021. For every 100 applicants a home care agency received, fewer than 5 were hired. This was a double-whammy for many agencies that were also having to spend increasingly large amounts on online job ads to get any applicants at all.


Thankfully, as you can see on the graph, there was a nice rebound in September 2021. As many people predicted, the end of federal unemployment benefits did greatly help the hiring market. This relief was welcome, although brief.


The end of federal unemployment benefits was not a one-stop miracle cure for home care. The market has been forever changed. Inflation, rising wages, and remote work opportunities have made it increasingly difficult to attract potential caregivers.


The hiring market is still very competitive. In January 2022, only 7.92% of caregiver applicants were actually getting hired. This is a positive trend but means that home care agencies still need to be laser-focused on their hiring strategies and processes.


That is why it’s imperative that home care agencies are tracking the metrics of their hiring pipeline. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- the answers you’re looking for are in the data!


The key to improving this birds-eye metric in 2022 is improving each of the individual conversion metrics in your hiring pipeline. Unfortunately, many home care agencies aren’t tracking the hiring pipeline at all. They don’t know where exactly they’re losing caregivers.


The truth is that there isn’t any single strategy that will propel you to hiring success. Your market is unique and has unique challenges. However, if you understand and are tracking your pipeline hiring metrics, you’ll know exactly where your home care agency needs to focus to start winning in 2022.


In the Carework Club, we can teach you exactly what numbers to track (it takes less than 30 minutes per week), and give you monthly updates on the national trends. That means that every month you’ll be seeing the national home care hiring trends for every step of the recruiting pipeline. Even better, your recruiting team will have the training and tools they need to be at the top of the charts.


If you want more data like this article, with more details and resources to improve, you need the Carework Club Monthly Report. We break down this trend line, but also look at every individual step in the hiring process. We'll show you how other agencies are doing and exactly where you need to improve.


Some agencies are entering what I call the home care agency death spiral. It’s a dramatic name for a dramatic process. The agency owners I’ve spoken with that are trapped in this spiral feel overwhelmed, hopeless, and incredibly stressed.


The core issue that will either get you trapped in that death spiral or free you from it is recruiting. Without the caregivers you need to grow, your agency will begin to die. With a steady flow of caregivers hired, your agency will rise to the top of the rapidly growing home care market.



vs. a growing agency:



I know which picture you want to be in.


It is possible to overcome this challenging market and succeed. Here's exactly where you can break from the downward spiral to the upward growth spiral:





We know because we are currently recruiting for home care agencies across the country that are WINNING. There are agencies we work with right now that are reducing their online ad budgets because they have too many caregivers. They’re pausing their ads to hire more office staff to keep up with how quickly their agency is growing. It’s possible!


Moving into 2022, we expect these hiring trends to slowly improve. We’re even seeing some agencies having phenomenal hiring success in early 2022.


Carework has already helped our clients hire thousands of caregivers and grow their home care agencies. We’re ready to help you, too. In the Club, we can help your agency start hiring, thriving, and scaling.


You can try the Club for free for 7 days here, and see for yourself if it's what your agency needs.



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