The adult social care sector has long been faced with challenges of high staff turnover and vacancy rates. Whilst this is mainly the care and support workers, the manager levels also face difficulties in recruitment and retention.

The Health Foundation recorded that in 2019 the turnover rate within social care was 31%. This was significantly higher than the UK average across all employment sectors which was just 15%. They recorded a vacancy rate of 8% compared to uk industry average of 3%.

In 2022 Skills for care recorded that the number of vacant posts in Adult Social Care had increased by 52% in one year – the highest rate on record, showing that its not getting better.


Other key findings from the annual ‘The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England report’ include:


These low pay figures can determine why the care sector faces challenges with retention as well as recruitment. In the context of the national cost of living pressures, four out of every five jobs in the wider economy pay more than the median pay for care workers. This seems unjust when you think of what care workers do for society.

Concerningly, whilst the challenges of recruitment and retention are on the rise, so is the demand for care, which highlights the fact that social care is facing a crisis that needs to be addressed.

Staff turnover rates within care roles remain high at 29% as approx. 400,000 people left their jobs. Skills for cares report demonstrated that there were particularly high rates of turnover amongst the youngest staff, as 52.6% of people under 20 were leaving within 12 months.

This data from Skills for Care outlines that the social care recruitment crisis is one that is not going to resolve quickly and needs a long term strategic plan. The report highlights the need to start to implement the ‘People at the heart of care’ white paper which was published last year and to start releasing the £500m committed for the workforce in that white paper for skills and learning.

Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth says:

“Social care is a fundamental part of all our communities, it supports people to live their lives every day and most people who work in social care find it incredibly rewarding. Social care has a bigger workforce than the NHS, construction, transport, or food and drink service industries and there are so many opportunities if people want to specialise or progress into management roles.

“We must talk more about how rewarding social care is to work in so that we attract more people, and we must make it easier for the people who love working in social care to stay by improving terms and conditions and investing in their career development.

“This report highlights the immediate and longer-term capacity issues in social care. Data shows that while we are going to need 480,000 extra people working in social care by 2035, we already have 165,000 vacancies every day and the 28% of the workforce aged 55 or over may retire in the next 10 years.

“The ‘People at the heart of care’ white paper had commitments to investing in knowledge, skills, health and wellbeing, and recruitment policies to improve social care as a long-term career choice. The implementation of the commitments in that white paper have never been more important so that we can start to build the foundations to ensure that we have the workforce that we need now and in the future.

“In short, our society needs a step change in how it values social care and the great people who provide it.”

If you are looking for a care recruitment agency to assist during the recruitment and retention crisis, contact Healthworks  today.

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