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

This page has been published early for press contacts, but the information is embargoed until the report launches on Wednesday 21 October 2020.

This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the adult social care workforce in England and the characteristics of the 1.52 million people working in it. Topics covered include: employment information, recruitment and retention, demographics, pay, qualification rates and future workforce forecasts.

Download a copy of the report and the infographic showing all the key findings.



COVID-19: Workforce changes after March 2020

It should be noted that the data used in this report for 2019/20 was collected prior to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in England. The ASC-WDS data we used for the 2019/20 period was collected over the course of the year (April 2019 to March 2020). We analysed data submitted in March 2020 carefully to ensure it did not significantly impact the findings.

Therefore, this report does not show how COVID-19 has impacted the adult social care workforce. Rather it should be used as a baseline to reflect the composition of the workforce prior to COVID-19 and to give context to any further research or data collected after March 2020.

We’re analysing ASC-WDS data on a monthly basis to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the sector and workforce. The outputs from this analysis can be found on the COVID-19 section of our Workforce Intelligence website.


Key findings 

  • The estimated turnover rate of directly employed staff working in the adult social care sector was 30.4%, equivalent to approximately 430,000 leavers over the year.  However, most of these leavers don’t leave the sector. Around 67% of jobs were recruited from other roles within the sector
  • It is estimated that 7.3% of the roles in adult social care were vacant in 2019/20, equal to approximately 112,000 vacancies at any one time.
  • Around a quarter of the workforce (24%) were on a zero-hours contract (375,000 jobs). Almost half (42%) of the domiciliary care workforce were on zero-hours contracts. This proportion was even higher for care workers in domiciliary care services (56%).
  • The average number of sickness days was 4.7 in 2019/20, this equates to approximately 6.72 million days lost to sickness over the 12 month period.
  • 82% of the adult social care workforce are female and the average age of the workforce is 44 years and 27% of workers are aged 55 and above.
  • The majority (84%) of the adult social care workforce were British, 7% (113,000 jobs) had an EU nationality and 9% (134,000 jobs) a non-EU nationality.
  • Since the introduction of the mandatory National Living Wage (NLW) care worker pay in the independent sector has increased at a higher rate than previous years. Care worker real term median pay has increased by 12% since September 2012.