Headline social work information
This page provides the key findings from the Adult Social Care Workforce Dataset (ASC-WDS) relating to social workers in local authority adult social service departments as at September 2019. Download the report here. Data on the children’s social work workforce is published by the Department for Education.
There were 17,400 social workers employed by local authority adult social service departments across England as at September 2019, 1,000 employed in the independent sector and around 2,600 employed in the NHS.
This report focuses on the 17,400 social workers employed by local authority adult social services departments.
- The number of social workers employed by local authorities in England has increased by an average of 2.7% each year since 2016.
- However, the total number of jobs in adult social services departments has decreased by 28.9% since 2011 (despite a 1% increase in 2019). Social worker jobs have generally been retained by local authorities during a period where many other jobs have been outsourced to the independent sector.
- The turnover rate for social workers in local authorities was 13.4% in 2019. This figure has decreased each year from 16.0% in 2016.
- The vacancy rate for social workers in local authorities was 8.6% in 2019, equivalent to around 1,500 vacant social worker posts. This figure has decreased from 12.0% in 2015.
- The median full-time equivalent salary for a local authority social worker was £34,900 in 2019. This was similar to occupational therapists (£34,800) and allied health professionals (£36,000).