State of the adult social care sector and workforce 2020

October 21, 2020

Skills for Care has published its annual The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England 2020 report, which states that the adult social care sector in England still needs to fill around 112,000 job vacancies on any given day.

Using data provided by employers to the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) the annual State of the adult social care sector and workforce 2020 report showed there had been a slight reduction in job vacancies, but employers still needed to find thousands of new workers.

'Any reduction in the number of vacancies is welcome, but we need to attract more new recruits who have the right values to fill posts that offer long term careers where you can make a difference in people’s lives every single day,' says Skills for Care Chief Executive, Oonagh Smyth.

'Once people have discovered the personal satisfaction on offer in social care, we need to keep them by investing in pay, their professional development and creating clear career pathways. We cannot miss this opportunity so we must continue to invest in our frontline staff and dedicated leaders and managers who have made such a difference in keeping people safe and well during the pandemic.

'We will use the quality information in this report to make long-term workforce decisions informed by solid data in what is a critical period of change for a workforce bigger than the NHS.'

The report also reveals that the percentage of days lost to sickness in adult social care across England during the pandemic increased to 7.5% between March and August 2020 compared to 2.7% pre-COVID-19.

The staff vacancy rate for employers updating ASC-WDS data between March and August 2020 was 7.0%, down from the pre-COVID-19 rate for those employers which was around 8.6%.

Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni said, 'We welcome Skill for Care’s report. For years, we’ve been calling for a better funding settlement for adult social care. Last year, we warned that the continuing lack of a long-term sustainable solution for adult social care was having a damaging impact on the quality and quantity of available care.

'Our latest State of Care report makes clear that these issues need to be urgently addressed and also calls for a new deal for the care workforce, which develops clear career progression, secures the right skills for the sector, better recognises and values staff, invests in their training and supports appropriate professionalisation.'

Other Key findings from this influential report include:

  • Adult social care is a growing sector that, in 2019/20, comprised of around 18,200 organisations across 38,000 care-providing locations and a workforce of around 1.52 million compared to around 1.4 million NHS workers.
    The adult social care sector was estimated to contribute £41.2 billion per annum to the economy in England, which is worth more than the oil industry and the culture sector.
  • Around 84% of the adult social care workforce were British, 7% (113,000 jobs) had an EU nationality and 9% (134,000 jobs) had a non-EU nationality.
  • The UK will adopt a points-based immigration system from January 1st 2021, ‘Care worker’ was not listed as an eligible occupation on the ‘Skilled Workers’ route. Therefore care workers will not be able to immigrate into the UK to take up these roles from 1 January 2021.
  • Care worker pay has increased at a faster rate since the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW). Since the launch of the NLW the hourly rate has increased by an average of 30 pence per year (3.9%) compared to 1.9% per year prior to the NLW. The proportion of care workers paid the statutory minimum amount has increased since the introduction of the NLW, from 16% in March 2016 to 23% in March 2020, but and sales and retail assistants now, on average, earn 24p per hour more than care workers.
  • Skills for Care estimates that 7.3% of roles in adult social care were vacant in 2019/20, equivalent to 112,000 vacancies at any one time.
  • Skills for Care estimates that the staff turnover rate of directly employed staff working in the adult social care sector was 30.4% in 2019/20.
  • Using data from care homes updating ASC-WDS between March and August 2020, the occupancy rate has fallen for 87% to 79% in care homes with nursing and from 87% to 82% in care homes without nursing. Over the same period, there was no evidence of the number of staff employed falling overall.

Kathy Roberts, Chair of the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) welcomed the State of the adult social care sector and workforce 2020 findings and said, 'COVID-19 has rapidly raised the profile of the adult social care sector, and of the complex and skilled role that care workers play in supporting some of our most vulnerable people in our country. The Skills for Care report reminds us that, despite this improved awareness, much needs to be done to ensure we have sufficient numbers of well-supported care workers right now, and in the future.

'The CPA is calling for a long-term Social Care People Plan – similar to that being developed for the NHS People Plan. We want to see parity with our colleagues in the NHS, in terms of recognition as a skilled workforce, and in terms of reward through comparable pay and conditions...

'We want to see structured career pathways that ensure working in care is an attractive profession for everyone with the right values and commitment. Care work should not be portrayed as an alternative to a job in a supermarket. Yet, retail staff on average earn 24p more an hour than a care worker, raising concerns about the wider issues on pay.

'Care workers are not listed as an eligible occupation on the ‘Skilled Workers’ route of the new points-based immigration system, due to come into effect from January 2021. The adult social care sector in England is a major employer and contributor to the economy and as such, investment in the care workforce should be a priority at a national level. As we face a major recession, social care can offer people new career opportunities.'

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suzie lloyd

Hi, this is illuminating; are there any facts and figures on home care?

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