Recruitment and retention

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Skills for Care estimates that 440,000 people leave their jobs every year and there is an average of approximately 122,000 vacancies at any one time.

Latest figures

  • We estimate that the staff turnover rate of permanent and temporarily employed staff working in the adult social care sector was 30.8%.
  • This was approximately 440,000 leavers over the year, however 66% of leavers remain within the sector.
  • Turnover rates have increased steadily, by a total of 9.1 percentage points, between 2012/13 and 2018/19.
  • 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 26% of employers have a turnover rate of less than 10%.

We estimate that the starters rate in the past 12 months was 39.3%.


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 7.4 percentage points higher for those that travel more than 20km (33.4%) to work compared to those that travel less than 1km (26.0%).
  • The sector struggles to retain younger workers. Turnover rates amongst under 20s was 43.7%, compared to 20.2% 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 41.7%. This decreased to just 18.7% 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 31.8% compared to 24.9% for those not on zero-hours contracts.


Related reports 

  • For information at England level see Chapter three in the 'State of the adult social care sector and workforce' report 
  • For regional information see chapter three of the relevant regional report.  
  • Access specific pay information in the workforce estimates below. 

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