Recruitment and retention

Data correct as at 2019/20

In addtion to this information, we also have monthly trackers for key workforce measures relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic including total staff, vacancies, occupancy rates, and sickness.


Staff turnover

  • We estimate that the staff turnover rate of permanent and temporarily employed staff working in the adult social care sector was 30.4%.
  • This was approximately 430,000 leavers over the year, however 67% of leavers remain within the sector.
  • Turnover rates have increased steadily, by a total of 10.2 percentage points, between 2012/13 and 2019/20.
  • This level of turnover and churn indicates that employers are struggling to find, recruit and retain suitable people to the sector. 
  • A large proportion of staff turnover is a result of people leaving the sector soon after joining and the sector also has difficulties in retaining younger workers.
  • It's important to note that turnover is not uniformly high.  Approximately 23% of independent sector employers have a turnover rate of less than 10%.


Staff Vacancies

  • There was an average of 112,000 vacancies at any one time in 2019/20.
  • In 2019/20, the vacancy rate decreased by 0.3 percentage points (a decrease of around 4,500 vacancies), the first decrease seen in an eight-year period. Previously the rate had increased year-on-year between 2012/13 and 2018/19, from 4.4% to 7.6%.
  • See the COVID-19 section for trends since the start of the pandemic.


Data science

Information from the ASC-WDS was also used to build several models and, using data science and machine learning techniques, it has been possible to provide information regarding factors that influence turnover rates. This work currently focuses on independent sector care workers only. Some of the findings are presented below:


Key findings

  • Those that travel further for work were more likely to leave their role. Average turnover rate for care workers in the independent sector was 7.3 percentage points higher for those that travel more than 20km (32.3%) to work compared to those that travel less than 1km (25.0%).
  • The sector struggles to retain younger workers. Turnover rates amongst under 20s was 46.9%, compared to 22.4% for those 60 and above.
  • People leave the sector soon after joining the sector. The average turnover rate for those with less than one year of experience in sector was 43.8%. This decreased to just 21.0% for those with 20 years or more experience.
  • Turnover rates were higher for those on zero-hours contracts. Those on zero-hours contracts had an average turnover rate of 33.2% compared to 26.7% for those not on zero-hours contracts.


 Related reports 

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