Size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, 2017

This report provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive overview of the adult social care sector and workforce in England.

The report contains seven sections; introduction, organisations, establishments, individual employers, workforce, trends and forecasts.

It's compiled using data from the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC).  The highlights from the report have been illustrated in an infographic. You can download both using the links below.

Key findings

  • The number of adult social care jobs in England as at 2016 was estimated at 1.58 million. An increase of 1.5% and 20,000 jobs since 2015.
  • The number of people doing these jobs was estimated at 1.45 million.
  • The number of full-time equivalent jobs was estimated at 1.11 million.
  • An estimated 20,300 organisations spread across 40,400 care providing locations were involved in providing or organising adult social care in England
  • Around 235,000 adults, older people and carers received direct payments from councils social services departments. It is estimated that approximately 70,000 direct payment recipients employ their own staff.
  • Since 2009, the workforce continued to shift away from local authority jobs (-37% and -65,000 jobs) and towards independent sector jobs (+27% and 260,000 jobs).

If you’re involved in workforce planning or commissioning you can use the regional and local authority level estimates which are provided as appendices to this report. Estimates from this report should not be directly compared with previous reports.


To receive a paper copy of the report, please email  

The regional reports provide an overview of adult social care services and the workforce in each region.  They have been generated using data from the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC).

Each report looks at the size and structure of that region as well as key workforce issues such as retention and worker demographics.  

Within each region you can also download an area specific report e.g Derby.

If you’re interested in accessing information about the social care workforce and sector then visit the open access dashboards.

Find out how to use them by watching our guide.

Our analysis team are experts in social care workforce data.  They've been working with data from the NMDS-SC data and other data sources for over 8 years.  This experience means they can help you investigate, analyse and discover information to help you identify or solve a specific issue.  

Our data services can be used when you need:

  • evidence to help you make an important decision or develop a strategy
  • information/analysis and a report that’s more in-depth and tailored to your needs
  • trend information or help looking ahead with forecasts
  • help planning for the future
  • information for a bid
  • help to analyse data you already have but aren’t sure how to make the most of it.

Contact or call 0113 2410969 for more information. 

To receive a quarterly email which contains the latest published information and workforce intelligence reports, simply register with us and select "workforce intelligence" under areas of interest.    

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