Being an anchor employer

Advice on anchor strategies for local employment, skills and training and maximising your impact as an employer and anchor organisation.
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Anchor institutions are large organisations where long-term sustainability is tied to the wellbeing of the communities they serve. The NHS is the largest employer in England and plays a significant role in its local community. It is deeply rooted and connected to the area, allowing it to positively impact the health and wellbeing of the local people by offering employment opportunities, quality work and career development.

Anchor employers should consider the following areas as part of shaping their approaches to widening participation from their local communities.

  • Integrated care systems (ICSs) exemplify anchor institutions, as they are partnerships of organisations working together to deliver comprehensive services to improve the lives of community members. As part of the ICS, integrated care boards (ICBs), including ICB people leads, are responsible for creating a thriving local labour market and fostering social and economic growth in the wider community. They provide strategic direction for all ICS organisations in the area, such as provider collaborations, health and wellbeing boards, place-based partnerships and primary care networks.

    By working together, NHS systems and local authorities can provide integrated care that meets the needs of the population they serve.

    This will include integrated workforce planning and development, such as joint teams, training and rotation between NHS and social care settings. This approach is particularly crucial for public health services that address population health needs as the population faces increasing healthcare requirements.

  • Being an anchor employer means being a more inclusive employer by widening participation. This includes driving and supporting broader social and economic development by offering good work, facilitating skills development (e.g. digital, interpersonal) and offering social mobility programmes to all. Therefore improving health inequalities, improving health and wellbeing and income deprivation in the local community.

  • The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan anticipates that NHS organisations will need to recruit from the wider labour market to a much greater extent in the future. To meet the anticipated demand in 15 years’ time, 204,000–230,000 more staff are needed to support those in clinical roles, 47,500–56,500 of whom are healthcare support workers. With such a high number of people to recruit there will be varied levels of work experience and qualifications amongst candidates, many of whom may have not have any. There is a need to widen participation by creating a more inclusive recruitment environment representative of local demographics.

Supporting integrated care systems to be an anchor employer

Find out how to support your local system to be an anchor employer and provide employment, skills and training opportunities for your local area.

Read the guide Arrow pointing right