Aug 19

Adult social care workforce grows to 1.49 million people

Posted on Monday 5th August 2019
Size and structure front cover 2019

The adult social care workforce in England has continued to grow  as 1.49 million people now meet the growing demand from people who need care and support in our communities.

The latest jump in workforce numbers was revealed in Skills for Care’s annual ‘Size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, 2019’ report using data from the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) supplied by thousands of employers. The report shows there has been a 22% growth in the total number of jobs since 2009.

The huge contribution the sector makes to citizen’s wellbeing in our communities is underlined in the report with an estimated 18,500 organisations now involved in providing or organising adult social care in England. Those services were delivered across an estimated 39,000 establishments deeply embedded in their communities.

The report also showed that around 237,000 adults, older people and carers received direct paymentsfrom council’s social services departments in 2017/2018, and it is estimated that approximately 31% of these recipients were employing their own staff. 

Skills for Care Interim CEO Andy Tilden said: “There is rightly a very live debate about the future of adult social care, and the robust data in this report allows us to make decisions about what future service delivery might look like based on what we know rather than gut feelings.

“The report does once again show the obvious contribution our growing workforce makes supporting people to live the lives they want, but also that our sector is now a key part of our national economy. As we estimate we will need to fill another 580,000 jobs by 2035 that contribution is only going to grow, so we need to start thinking about how that is factored into economic planning locally and nationally.”

Other key findings include:

  • The number of adult social care jobs in England as at 2018 was estimated at 1.62 million. These jobs were carried out by 1.49 million people (people can hold more than one adult social care job).
  • The number of adult social care jobs was estimated to have increased by around 1.2% (19,000 jobs) between 2017 and 2018.
  • Since 2009 the number of adult social care jobs has increased by 22% (290,000 jobs).
  • The rate of increase for adult social care jobs has slowed – between 2014 and 2018 the workforce grew by around 16,000 jobs per year compared to an average increase of 45,000 per year between 2009 and 2014.
  • The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs was estimated at 1.13 million.

Workforce structure

  • Since 2009, the workforce has continued to shift away from local authority jobs (a decrease of 37%, or 65,000 jobs) and towards independent sector jobs (an increase of 30%, or 290,000 jobs).
  • The number of jobs within independent sector care homes with nursing increased between 2017 and 2018 by 2% to 295,000 jobs. This figure had, however, decreased by 5,000 jobs between 2016 and 2017.
  • Registered nurses were one of the only jobs in adult social care to see a significant decrease, down 10,500, or 20%, since 2012.

To download the ‘Size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, 2019’ report go to www.skillsforcare.org.uk/sizeandstructure


Press contact: Paul Clarke – paul.clarke@skillsforacre.org.uk or 07540 542495