The size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England

Published July 2021

This page provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive overview of the size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England. Please note that a report is no longer published, however this information will form a chapter within in ‘The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ published in September 2021.


This dashboard is best viewed on a desktop computer. You can view the dashboard here


Downloading the visualisation and notes about the data

  • You can also download a PDF or PowerPoint version by clicking on the arrow found at the bottom right of the visualisation.
  • There are notes about the data when you hover over the ( i ) in the visualisation.
  • For information about how workforce estimates are created or rounding and suppression rules please visit our webpage on methodology.
  • Updated information is due to be published in July 2022.
  • If you require data that isn’t available in the visualisation or report below, please contact us.


Key findings

  • The number of people working in adult social care was estimated at 1.54 million.
  • The number of adult social care jobs in England as at 2020/21 was estimated at 1.67 million – this has increased by around 2.7% (45,000 jobs) between 2019/20 and 2020/21.
  • The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs was estimated at 1.19 million.
  • An estimated 17,700 organisations were involved in providing or organising adult social care in England as at 2020/21. Those services were delivered in an estimated 39,000 establishments.


Changes since 2012/13

  • Since 2012/13, the workforce has continued to shift away from local authority jobs (a decrease of 24%, or 37,000 jobs) and towards independent sector jobs (an increase of 16%, or 180,000 jobs).
  • The number of jobs in domiciliary services increased at a faster rate between 2012/13 and 2020/21 (an increase of 135,000 jobs and 22%) than jobs in residential services (an increase of 25,000 jobs and 4%).  
  • Registered nurses were one of the only jobs in adult social care to see a significant decrease over the period (down 17,000 or 33% since 2012/13).


Changes since 2019/20 (start of COVID-19 pandemic)

  • Between 2019/20 and 2020/21 the vast majority of the increase in adult social care jobs was in CQC regulated non-residential care services (increasing by 40,000 jobs or 7%).
  • The number of care home jobs remained broadly the same over the same period despite decreases in occupancy rates from 86% pre-COVID to 77% in March 2021.
  • The number of jobs in care homes for older people also remained similar in 2020/21, however between March 2021 and June 2021 there is evidence that the number of jobs in this part of the sector has started to decrease.



  • If the adult social care workforce grows proportionally to the projected number of people aged 65 and over in the population then the number of adult social care jobs will increase by 29% (480,000 jobs) to around 2.16 million jobs by 2035. 


Monthly tracking

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



Further resources

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