The workforce employed by adult services departments in England

Published February 2022 (data correct as at September 2021)

Next update due: February 2023

This publication contains information on staff employed (directly and indirectly) by local authority adult social services departments in England as at September 2021. Topics covered include: Size of the workforce, employment overview, recruitment and retention, demographics and pay information.  

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Key findings

Workforce size

  • There were 115,100 adult social services jobs in local authorities in England (held by 111,100 people), an increase of 0.8% or 950 jobs from 2020.
  • The number of jobs fell by 28% (41,000 jobs) between 2012 and 2017, they have increased since 2017 by 4.5%, an increase of 4,900 jobs.
  • Nearly half of all local authority job roles (52,400 jobs or 46%) were in direct care providing roles.
  • The number of regulated profession jobs remained relatively stable, with 21,300 jobs in 2021. This is the only job role group to have increased since 2011, up 1,300 jobs (6%) between 2012 and 2021.
  • In 2021 an estimated 3.5 million hours per week were worked by 111,100 adult social care staff within local authorities, up 88,000 hours per week since 2020.

Workforce characteristics

  • The average age of adult social care staff in local authorities was 47.7. This was 4.0 years older when compared to the latest available equivalent for the independent sector and 4.8 years older than the NHS workforce average age.
  • 50.7% of directly employed staff had zero sick days in the year. On average, the mean number of sickness days for staff in local authorities is 10.0 days, down 0.7 days since 2020 and 6.4 days more than the UK employment average.
  • Overall, adult social services jobs saw a nominal pay rise between 2020 and 2021. Care workers median pay rose by 1% from 2020 to £19,700.
  • In real terms, between 2012 and 2021  there was a mixed picture with six job roles showing an increase. ‘Senior care worker’ showed the largest decrease, down 4.6% over this period.


Monthly tracking

Monthly tracking of vacancies, total staff, occupancy rates and sickness is published here.




Further resources

  • Also available at England level is the State of the workforce information, which looks at workforce characteristics, issues and trends for the whole sector. 
  • Also available at England level is the size and structure information. which quantifies the size of the workforce split into detailed categories and number of employers.
  • At regional level there are nine pages, providing an overview of adult social care services and the workforce in each region and a regional comparison tool.
  • Four interactive visualisations, and summary reports, showing information about the local authority areas in England can be found here.

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