Now boarding...Recruitment journey brings new caregivers from Australia and beyond.

In the wake of COVID-19, health care recruitment became more competitive than ever with many health care providers competing against each other to fill high workforce shortages.

9 Feb 2024


Grappling with these challenges, St John of God Health Care launched a national and international recruitment strategy to bring new and highly skilled caregivers to the organisation. A decision Chief People Officer, Carla Bonev said was an important and necessary one.

“Facing a significant shortage of health care workers was our biggest challenge as we emerged from the pandemic," she said.

“The demand for important health care was increasing and we knew that if we didn’t take decisive action, then we risked losing some of our incredible caregivers due to burnout.

“We needed to send a message that help was on the way to address shortages and build our workforce back to full capacity.

“Competing against other health care providers facing the same challenges, our organisation knew that we needed to significantly invest in recruitment to address these challenges and be proactive and creative in our approach.”

Recruitment takes off

With border restrictions still in place in early 2022, the organisation initially focused on the national market with good results. A digital campaign paired with internal initiatives such as the successful refer-a-friend campaign and job fair exhibitions saw the campaign off to a strong start.

The local Jobsfest events held at both our Murdoch and Subiaco hospitals attracted plenty of interest with 80 job offers issued within 24 hours following the Murdoch event.

Recruiting local health care workers has continued to be a focus for St John of God Health Care and a priority, however to supplement this, the organisation looked at another option.

The start of an Aussie health care adventure

With border restrictions lifted, the organisation turned to the international market.

“St John of God Health Care was now not only selling the organisation as a great place to work but Australia as a great place to live,” Carla said.

But going international was new territory for St John of God Health Care, knowing that many overseas health care workers may have not heard of the organisation.

What followed was a strong digital campaign attracting more than 1.1 million Google Ad impressions and a contingent of St John of God Health Care caregivers taking off on an international roadshow across New Zealand, UK and Ireland, attending job fairs and conducting interviews in various cities including Manchester, Birmingham and Dublin.

We also engaged a UK-based PR agency to help us secure media coverage in some of the UK and Ireland’s major media outlets including The Times, The Telegraph, Glasgow’s Herald, London’s Evening Standard and the Irish Times to help build awareness of our recruitment drive.

A new relocation package to attract and support highly skilled nurses, midwives and doctors was also created along with the establishment of a Global Mobility team and partnerships with migration and destination services partners to support overseas health care workers with visas, relocation assistance and a range of support.

St John of God Health Care caregiver, Kelly said moving to Australia with her family was daunting but the support she received from the Global Mobility team was invaluable.

“Whether it was visas, accommodation or advice about schooling for my son, I had someone helping me every step of the way,” she said.

Continuing the journey

During 2022 and 2023, St John of God Health Care recruited more than 8,500 caregivers including 534 international recruits and reduced the vacancy rate from 10 per cent in December 2022 to three per cent by the end of the financial year.

But Carla Bonev acknowledges that the recruitment journey is far from over.

“In 2024, we remain focused on building and retaining an engaged workforce. We have kicked off the year with our first ever national television recruitment advertisement and we look forward to welcoming more caregivers from Australia and beyond who are committed to bringing hope and healing to all those who come to us for care.”