Skills for Care

This page explains our overall policy position on workforce capacity - and sets out what we want to see, the current situation and solutions.

What do we want to see?

Our vision is of a fair and just society, where people can access the advice, care and support they need to live lives to the fullest. We want to see the principles of the Care Act 2014 embedded in social care:

  • empowerment of people
  • prevention
  • proportionality
  • protection
  • partnership with services offering local solutions to their communities and accountability and transparency.

To achieve this, we need to have a sustainable social care workforce with the right values and behaviours working in social care now and in the future.

The current situation

Adult social care plays a vital role in our society but employers within the sector are struggling to find and keep people to deliver valuable care and support services. In 2022-23:

  • there were, on average, 152,000 vacancies on any given day.
  • the turnover rate was 30%.

According to our latest data for 2021-22:

  • the average age of the workforce was 45 years, and a third of the workforce was aged over 55 and could retire in the next five years.
  • almost half of employees under the age of 25 left their role in the first year.
  • 82% of the workforce was female.

It's also estimated that, based on population growth, 445,000 extra jobs may be needed by 2035 to meet demand.

This indicates that we have a short-term issue and can't fill current vacancies - and we have a long-term issue because we're going to need more people in the future and will see an increased number of people likely to retire in the next 10 years. 

View monthly data and trends 


The evidence suggests that we have some choices to make to increase capacity. It's important that we have a long-term workforce strategy for adult social care so that we can make these choices and implement them nationally, at a system and place level.

To help employers find new people with the rights skills we can: