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Attracting Children’s Social Work Talent: How To Get Ahead of Your Competition

Birmingham Children's Trust Logo

When candidates in your sector start their job search, wouldn’t it be ideal if you’re the first employer they see? Whether that’s on search engines, job boards or candidates’ inboxes. So how do you target the right audience for your vacancies with tailored adverts that put your organisation at the front of their minds?

Birmingham Children’s Trust (BCT) wanted to increase the number of applications from relevant job seekers across the Midlands and beyond. They asked JGP to devise an advertising strategy that would increase their recruitment performance all round and improve their visibility to active and passive candidates. After just 3 months they’ve seen a 22% increase in applications and a cost per application of £45.45.

The Brief

BCT operates in the highly competitive West Midlands region, comprising 14 metropolitan boroughs and unitary local authorities. These authorities are all contending for skilled social work staff. Combined with skill shortages and further competition from the neighbouring East Midlands, BCT were struggling to attract enough applications using conventional methods.

They were advertising on a role by role basis. Yet, they found that other employers in the Midlands were crowding out their job adverts on popular job boards. They also realised that their careers site was not appearing at the top of the page on search engines.

Having previously used JGP’s Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to enhance their presence, they came back to us to explore what we could do long term to increase their visibility in target areas such as Social Work and Foster Care. With tight budgets, they needed assurance that their spend was producing an increased number of relevant applications. They also needed full visibility of where their money was being spent.

Our Approach

Our Google Ads certified team researched the most effective keywords to target across PPC platforms such as Google and Microsoft. We created a campaign encompassing paid search advertising, extending BCT’s reach on a range of job boards using our AI-powered aggregator service and a number of premium job listing enhancements and email marketing activity.

We adopted what we call an “Always-on” approach meaning that promotional activity is consistent and constant. If we’re not promoting specific roles then we’re promoting BCT and their careers site. This allowed us to achieve some quick wins for live adverts whilst building longer term visibility and positioning with passive candidates in a crowded and competitive marketplace.

We provided fortnightly reviews with the team at Birmingham, reporting on campaign performance, spend and planning for forthcoming vacancies. Our detailed reports give the Trust a clear breakdown of ROI. This included visibility of key metrics such as careers site interaction and job application rates.

The Results 

After three months of using this always-on budget, Birmingham are already beginning to see the benefits. As well as an extra 68 applications per month at a cost per application of £45, they have seen an increase of over 30% more users on their careers site, with these new users spending 25% longer on their vacancy pages. They’ve been able to fill various difficult vacancies such as Early Help Workers, Heads of Service and Senior Practitioners.

Melissa McPherson, HR Consultant at Birmingham Children’s Trust, had this to say about the results so far:

“Our attraction budget with JGP has led to a significant increase in the number of applications we’re getting across all of our vacancies. We’ve seen a notable increase in traffic on our careers site, in addition to interaction rates on job-related pages.

From our Social Worker positions to Head of Service roles, we’re not only seeing more applications but higher quality applicants across the board.

The level of contact, as well as the quality of reporting, has really helped us to understand what we were getting for our money and only increased our confidence in the work JGP were doing.”

Want to find out how an always-on campaign can help your organisation stand out from the crowd? Get in touch today to get a bespoke quote for your needs!

What is PPC?

PPC stands for pay-per-click, an internet marketing model where advertisers pay a fee each time their ads are clicked. Essentially, it’s a method of buying visits to your job ad, rather than leaving it to chance that candidates will discover your ad through Google search or email promotions.

Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches using related keywords. For example, if we bid on the keyword “Social Worker Jobs London” our ad might show up in the very top spot on the Google results page.

Every time a candidate clicks an ad to a job listing, we pay the search engine a small fee. When PPC is researched and executed well, it can be more cost-effective than traditional advertising. This is because we target relevant visitors at the right time, leading to better conversion of interest to application.

A number of the large job boards and aggregators now operate on a PPC basis which means you can get more targeted exposure for your budget.

A lot goes into building a successful PPC campaign: from researching and selecting the right keywords, to organizing those keywords into campaigns, selecting and testing the best performing ads and when and where we want them to appear.

Why should I use PPC?

79% of job searches in the UK start with search engines such as Google & Bing. Independent research has suggested that only 10% of employers currently use PPC for their candidate attraction. PPC allows you to intercept job seekers before they visit other sources of job content and potentially your competitors, providing you with a real advantage and ‘first dibs’ on talent.