The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England

Stateof18ThumbnailPublished Monday 24 September 2018

This report offers comprehensive workforce characteristics about the 1.47 million people working in adult social care in England. The report gives a detailed profile of this workforce such as age, gender, ethnicity and specific job role information.

It builds on the ‘Size and Structure’ report recently published in August. 


What's in the report?

  • Size of the sector and workforce and what it looks like
  • Employment overview – full/part time status, zero hours contracts
  • Recruitment and retention information – experience in sector, role, source of recruitment 
  • Pay rates
  • Care certificate, training and qualification information
  • Personal assistant estimates and workforce characteristics
  • Workforce forecasts up to 2035.


Key findings 

  • A quarter of the workforce (25%) were on a zero-hours contract (335,000 jobs).
  • The staff turnover rate was 30.7%, equivalent to around 390,000 leavers in the previous 12 months.
  • Many of these leavers move to other roles within the sector as 67% of recruitment is from within adult social care.
  • Adult social care has an experienced 'core' of workers. Workers had, on average, 8.2 years of experience in the sector.
  • The vacancy rate was 8.0%, equivalent to around 110,000 vacancies at any given time. The majority of these vacancies (76,000) were care workers.
  • A fifth of all workers (320,000 jobs) were aged over 55 years old.
  • The majority (83%) of the adult social care workforce were British, 8% (104,000 jobs) had an EU nationality and 10% (130,000 jobs) a non-EU nationality. 
  • According to the Government’s “EU Settlement Scheme: statement of intent” the rights of EU citizens living in the UK will not change until after 31st December 2020.

    The NMDS-SC shows that 21% of workers with an EU nationality also already have British Citizenship and that 50% of EU workers arrived in the UK either in or prior to 2015, and therefore may have gained the five years continuous residency required for ‘Settled status’. The remaining 29% of EU workers will be eligible for ‘pre-settled status.

  • Prior to the National Living Wage, care worker hourly rates increased by around 13p (1.9%) per year. The launch of the NLW saw the average hourly rate increase by 20p (2.7%) then by 39p (5.2%) in the following year.

Further resources

Workforce estimates contain raw tabulated information with more breakdowns (sector, service, geographical level) than in the main report. You can access these below.