I am delighted to welcome back Maggie Keen, VP of Strategic Initiatives at mycnajobs.com, as a guest blogger. She brings a wealth of information about the rising wages in home care. This is clearly good news for employees who work hard and don’t always get the recognition they deserve. For agency owners, the rising wages put a squeeze on their tights margins. Her article answers this important question: How much should I pay my caregivers?

It’s no secret that recruitment in home care is getting more difficult. With increased competition from other providers and demand for services outpacing the growth in frontline care workers, agencies everywhere are feeling the pains of a workforce shortage. With the release of the Home Care Pulse 2018 Home Care Benchmark Study, we can see that the number one threat to business growth remains finding enough Caregivers and CNAs.

These challenges are on the minds of home care providers across the country. Across the country, Caregiver recruitment is a hot-button issue. Pay is never far behind. “What should I pay my caregivers?” “What are my competitors paying?” “Can I make up for low pay by offering other perks?” These questions are floating around the exhibit halls and breakout sessions of every home care conference in America. Everyone has an opinion based on their local experience. But what is the big picture on wages? Using data from two national Caregiver studies, let’s take a look at the hard numbers and see what’s happening industry-wide with Caregiver pay.

First and foremost, pay rates are on the rise. This will not come as a surprise to many home care operators. Those who have not raised their starting pay are finding it even harder to recruit. Nationally, CNAs report wanting to work for an average of $12.11 per hour and non-certified Caregivers $11.37 per hour. However, it’s important to remember there’s variability across the country and each job market is unique. While we know pay has and will continue to climb upwards, the most important benchmark is what your competitors are offering in your local market.

What is your competition paying?

When thinking of competitors, you are probably thinking of rival agencies in town. You might also consider local assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and even hospital networks in our service territory. These are all competitors who are also targeting caregivers for hire in your area. Don’t ignore competitors from industries outside of senior care. Fast food, retail, warehouse, and distribution centers are all actively recruiting care staff.

Take retail giant Target. At the end of 2017 they raised their minimum pay to $11 per hour nationally, with a commitment to $14 by the 2020. When tracking what competitors are offering, don’t leave these other industries out of the equation.

Use real-time pay data to your advantage

In order to adapt to the changing landscape of caregiver recruitment, agencies are going to have to offer competitive pay to keep up. Any agencies wishing to be a leader in Caregiver recruitment have to know what competitors are offering.

MyCNAjobs has developed a real-time pay portal, allowing you to see average wages for certified and non-certified Caregivers on a hyper-local level. Simply enter your wage for those roles and office zip code.  Our system slices through data from over 1 million caregivers nationwide to show what candidates are looking to make on a zip code level.

Access the free pay portal at www.myCNAjobs.com/pay