Adult social care workforce

September 24, 2018

Skills for Care has published two reports looking in detail at the adult social care workforce in England.

The ‘State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ and ‘Size of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ offer an analysis of the social care workforce by age, gender, location, pay and organisation type.

The report look at growth, retention rates, training and diversity. Key findings for each of these areas include:

Workforce growth

The reports found that the sector has grown by 21% (275,000 jobs) since 2009. The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase to 14.5 million by 2035, an increase of around 44% since 2017, meaning around 650,000 extra jobs may be needed in adult social care by 2035.


The estimated turnover rate of directly employed staff was 30.7% which equates to approximately 390,000 people leaving their jobs over the last year.

Most of these people don’t actually leave the social care workforce - 67% of recruitment in social care comes from within. Turnover rates have increased by a total of 7.6% between 2012/13 and 2017/18 which indicates that employers are struggling to find, recruit and retain suitable people.

A large proportion of staff turnover is a result of people leaving jobs soon after joining, with care workers under 30 years old more likely to leave their jobs alongside those with lower rates of pay.

Training and experience

68% of care workers who started in the sector after January 2015 had engaged with the Care Certificate and 50% of care workers held a relevant adult social care qualification. Workers who held a qualification were less likely to leave their roles than those without.

Adult social care has a ‘core’ of workers with with an average eight years’ experience in the sector. Around 70% of the social care workforce had been working in the sector for at least three years.


Women make up 82% of the workforce with an average age of 43. 320,000 workers were aged over 55. 83% of the workforce are British and 104,000 jobs were filled by people with an EU nationality.

The result of the EU referendum appeared to have had little effect on the nationality trends in the workforce, with the number of EU nationals continuing to increase and the number of non-EU nationals decreasing.

Skills for Care Chief Executive, Sharon Allen said, 'These authoritative reports produced by Skills for Care really help us understand the workforce needs of a growing sector which contributes around £38.5 billion to the English economy.

'In a sector that is facing huge challenges it is ever more important to have this sort of high quality data so we have a skilled and knowledgeable workforce supporting people in our communities.'

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