Labor Crisis: Bad Now and Getting Worse

If you are a Senior Living executive, either an Executive Director, VP of Operations, Dining Director, or Chief Financial Officer, you know your biggest challenge in 2021 is staffing.

Most of the statistical analysis for Senior Living has been concentrated in Assisted Living, but with our base of 500+ Independent Living facilities, we are seeing the exact same issues.

Here are some staggering facts1:

  • 70% of communities are struggling to fill positions, with dining related services being the most critical shortfall
  • 25% of advertised positions do not receive one single response
  • 1/3 of Senior Living communities have staff vacancies of 30% or higher
  • 1 in 3 communities are limiting admissions due to staff shortages

The labor shortage is severe right now.

In March 2021, the US had a record high of 8.1 million vacant job openings.

There are approximately half as many available workers for every open job (1.4 available workers) across the country as there have been on average over the past 20 years (2.8) – and that number is still falling.2

90% of businesses currently find it “very difficult” or “difficult” to hire workers.

71% of businesses are finding it harder to hire than five years ago.

But, it is not just a short term problem.   Senior Living is facing a 15-20 year demographic challenge.

The problem?

We are making fewer humans.

The working age population has stopped growing in comparison to the amount of job openings.

The number of Baby Boomers in the workforce is decreasing at a much faster rate than the working age population is increasing.

As the Boomers leave, so do the skills they’ve gained over many years.

By 2034, the population of people ages 65 and older will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.

One in five U.S. citizens will be a Senior.

There will be 95 million older adults but 80 million children.3

And by 2030, it’s anticipated that the labor force participation in the U.S. will decline by 2.2%.

The Solution(s)?

A multi-pronged approach will be needed for Senior Living executives who want to be successful in their staffing.

  1. Better retention, recruiting and training.  Here’s an article about all of these areas that will help.
  2. Automation. Here’s another article about automation and outsourcing. 

What you can learn from the above two articles is you are going to have to re-imagine how you manage employees and staffing but you will benefit by embracing three key concepts:

  1. You’re going to have to pay and coddle your employees more.  Most employers think that pay is why an employee quits.  Your pay has to be competitive, but employees leave because they don’t feel respected and engaged. Read this article on ideas on how to fix that.
  2. You’ve got to commit to training up the employees you have.  Most of the time, you will not be able to easily fill a position with someone with known, proven skills. Embrace training and get serious about hiring a permanent training coordinator.
  3. Automate. We consistently hear that communities think Seniors are resistant to automation and technology.  They aren’t.  But you have to patiently train and enable them and provide a ready source for problem solving.  Seniors learn with additional repetition, but they learn and embrace technology if you take the time to teach them.

A powerful tool for reducing labor and automating is a Senior Living Point of Sale system.

Our studies have shown that a typical deployment of the FullCount POS system in a community with 100 residents (as an example), will reduce labor by 174 hours per month compared to a community using a Non-Senior Living POS system.4

Even more powerful, labor hours will be cut by 230 hours per month for a community not using a POS system.

The reduction in labor usage for a Senior Living community drives down costs and makes operations easier to manage.

To learn more about how automation can help your community solve the labor shortage, click here to go to our Cost-Benefit Analysis tool.

You’ll get a custom calculation of the labor and money you can save using the FullCount Senior Living Point of Sale system.

Free Cost Benefit Calculator. Just Seconds to See How Much You Will Save!

  1. https://www.whcawical.org/files/2020/09/WHCAWiCAL-2020-Workforce-Report-2-13.pdf
  2. https://www.uschamber.com/report/the-america-works-report-quantifying-the-nations-workforce-crisis
  3. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2020/demo/p25-1144.pdf
  4. FullCount internal analysis of anonymized data. Results may vary depending on community deployment of various technologies and training for residents and employees, but forecast results should be commonly attainable.

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