Turnover Remains High Among Assisted Living Workers
Mention turnover rates among employees of assisted living facilities, and the first assumption might be that those rates would be at the high end. That assumption proves to be true with a recent study conducted by the National Center for Assisted Living, LeadingAge, the Assisted Living Federation of America and the American Seniors Housing Association finding that overall retention rates were just 73% in 2011 – less than 3 out of 4 workers stayed in place for the year. Retention rates were higher for administration and housekeeping, with less than 20% turnover. However, in comparison to the average turnover rate of just 3.1% reported by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the LTC industry has a long way to go.
The study included 370 facilities, five major job categories, and 16 specific job positions. Retention rates were lowest in the food service category, with only 72% of employees remaining in place. Turnover was even higher for some specific jobs, with more than 40% of non-certified resident caregivers and more than a quarter of CNAs turning over within the year. Not surprisingly, resident caregiver roles also had the highest vacancy rates in the study, with an average of 5% of positions open.
A separate survey looking at job satisfaction among employees in nursing and assisted living facilities found that workers in assisted living facilities are less satisfied with job stress, pay, and managerial support than their colleagues in nursing home environments. Only about one quarter of respondents to the job satisfaction survey said that they had been working at their current facility for five years or longer – confirmation of the turnover challenges facing the industry.
It seems counterintuitive that the more acute-care environment of nursing homes would be less stressful than assisted living – supporting a younger, healthier population, often aging in place. As the nature of the work itself does not seem to align with the satisfaction of the workforce, uncovering the “why” is quite intriguing. To improve these statistics and stabilize the workforce, serious consideration must be given to identifying and resolving the specific factors that caregivers in Assisted Living find unsatisfactory.