Skills for Care publish workforce report

October 2, 2019

Skills for Care have published a comprehensive report analysing the adult social care workforce in England and the characteristics of the 1.49 million people working in it.

The sector is one that is growing rapidly. In 2018, it comprised of around 18,500 organisations across 39,000 care-providing locations and a workforce of around 1.62 million jobs. The number of full-time equivalent jobs was estimated at 1.13 million and the number of people working in adult social care was estimated at 1.49 million. The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England report covers a range of topics including recruitment and retention, demographics, pay, qualification rates and future workforce forecasts.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The estimated turnover rate of directly employed staff working in the adult social care sector was 30.8%, equivalent to approximately 440,000 leavers over the year.
  • It is estimated that 7.8% of the roles in adult social care are vacant, equal to approximately 122,000 vacancies at any time.
  • Around a quarter of the workforce (24%) were on a zero-hours contract (370,000 jobs). Almost half (43%) of the domiciliary care workforce were on zero-hours contracts. This proportion was even higher for care workers in domiciliary care services (58%).
  • The average number of sickness days was 4.8, this equates to approximately 6.94 million days lost to sickness in the past 12 months.
  • The majority (84%) of the adult social care workforce were British, 8% (115,000 jobs) had an EU nationality and 9% (134,000 jobs) a non-EU nationality.
  • Since the introduction of the mandatory National Living Wage (NLW) care worker pay in the independent sector has increased at a higher rate than previous years.
  • Care workers in the bottom 10% of the pay distribution benefitted the most from the introduction of the NLW (an increase of 9.4%) whereas the pay for the top 40% of earners increased at a slower rate.

Andy Tilden, Interim CEO at Skills for Care said,

‘It is vital that employers, the Government and everyone involved in adult social care in England can rely on robust evidence in this report when making decisions. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) continue to rely on our sector workforce intelligence summarised in this report.

'Demand for this intelligence is increasing as the sector, and demands on it, change. Our Workforce Intelligence team deliver this by supplying high quality evidence for policy-makers and decision-makers at a national, regional and local level.

'We can do this because of the wealth of data submitted to the National Minimum Dataset for Social Care (NMDS-SC). We are, as always, grateful to the thousands of organisations who submit their workforce data, as we simply could not produce intelligence of this quality without their continued support. These organisations also recognise the benefits that providing their data offers to them as care providers.’


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