"Man skal stå tidligt op for at få nogen": Fremtidens rekruttering til hjemmeplejen

Jonna Bryld & Sophie Gammeltoft

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


The subject of this thesis is very much an issue in the current political debate and relates in particular to the factors causing the current recruitment difficulties in the public sector. These include to the demographic trends with an increasing number of elderly with no similar increase in the size of the workforce, and increasing expectations to public services combined with a decreasing interest in the young for careers in professions targeting care. The thesis builds on a pilot investigation carried out in three phases. The first phase is comprised of an analysis of documents from three policies in this area. The first of these is the “Welfare Agreement” adopted by a majority of the Danish Parliament in 2006, including, inter alia, measures to secure an increase in the size of the future workforce. The second is the Danish Government’s 2007 “Quality Reform” proposals for the development of the public sector and the third is the “Three Party Agreement” between the Government, local and regional authorities and the trades’ unions on some elements of the “Quality Reform”. In the second phase of the investigation the results of the first phase were tested in practice. It consists of interviews carried out in two home care units of the Social Administration of the Copenhagen Municipal Government. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with the managers of the two units as well as focus group interviews with a group staff from each unit, 8 members of staff in all. A number of theoretical perspectives were chosen to guide both these phases of the investigation. These are the New Public Management perspective, a welfare economics perspective, a legitimacy perspective, a story telling perspective, and a vision management perspective. The third and final phase of the thesis identifies perspectives and discusses options for action to improve the recruitment possibilities. The joint conclusions of the first and second phase investigations are that the concepts of New Public Management can be identified both in the policies and in practice. There is a focus on maximising benefits and on reducing transaction costs and the responsibility for recruitment is fully decentralised to the individual units. The strategy in the policies analysed is based mainly on the use of economic incentives to increase the supply of labour. However, it was not possible in the investigation to substantiate that these policies would have the desired impact as the members of staff interviewed also had non-pecuniary motivations such as the framework and the organisation of work. At the same time, the investigation demonstrated that health, among other as a result of being run down in the workplace, is the predominant factor in determining the age of retirement of an individual. Another strategy in the policies is reducing the need for labour among other through de-bureaucratisation. In the practice oriented investigation we also found that this had a potential but that its effects may be significantly reduced by requirements for more documentation, benchmarking and accreditation. Seen from a legitimacy perspective we found that the three policies are an expression of a Government legitimacy strategy for the public sector. However, in our practice oriented investigation we did not find any particular Government attention to the legitimacy of the organisation. We found that legitimacy was taken for given while at the same time action was taken at higher levels of the organisational hierarchy to repair the legitimacy of the home care. Seen from a story telling perspective we found that the Government actively placed itself in the role of the hero through its policies, but that the story also leaves room for local managers and staff to be heroes in the implementation of the “Three Party Agreement”. In practice the investigation revealed much focus on the negative story and managers clearly saw themselves as having to promote the positive messages as one of the means to improve recruitment. Seen from a vision management perspective we found an overall vision in one of the policies: the ”Quality Reform”. However, vision is not something we were able to identify in practice, neither in the context of recruitment nor internally in the units. However, work was done on values for daily work and socialisation in the workplace. The third phase focuses inter alia on the need to strengthen home care services’ ties with the outside world, including the interested parties, to influence public opinion through storytelling, co-operation with educational institutions and on increasing the use of traineeships. It also highlights the need to focus on accommodating the needs of staff with respect to identifying a clear, meaningful and acceptable rationale for home care services. Finally, it includes proposals for a major investigation with participation of more interested parties and an extended investigation of staff with a focus on their motivation for choice of place of employment.

EducationsMaster of Public Administration, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2008
Number of pages131