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Skills for Care report highlights scale of social care recruitment challenge

A new report from Skills for Care shows that the number of filled posts in social care is down for the first time since records began in 2012/13.

The Size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England report found that the number of filled posts has decreased by around 3 per cent (50,000) between 2020/21 and 2021/22.

Over the same period, the number of vacant posts has increased by 55,000 (52 per cent). The total number of posts, including filled posts and staff vacancies, was 1.79m as at 2021/22 – an increase of 0.3 per cent from the previous year. The number of filled posts was estimated at 1.62 million and the number of vacant posts was around 165,000.

The study also found that the total number of people working in adult social care as at 2021/22 was an estimated 1.5 million – 4.5 per cent of the total workforce in England. This compares to 1.4 million people working in the NHS.

The data also highlights the dispersed nature of social care, with 17,900 social care organisations currently operating across some 39,000 establishments.

It is independent care providers that have struggled most with recruitment and retention. Between 2020/21 and 2021/22, the majority of the decrease in filled posts was in the independent sector –down by 45,000, while filled local authority posts remained broadly static.

Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth said: “Through our monthly tracking data, we already knew that the number of filled posts had been decreasing since the height of the pandemic, and now our annual report has confirmed that filled posts have decreased for the first time on record.

“This highlights the recruitment and retention challenges which we know social care employers are facing right now and is not a decrease in demand for care services. In fact, our forecast data tells us that we will need a 27 per cent increase in posts in social care by 2035 to continue to maintain the current levels of care and support to people who will need it in the future.”

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20th September 2022

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National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham
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18th October 2022

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