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

Published August 2019

This report provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive overview of the size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England.  Download a copy of the report and our handy infographic showing all the key findings.  

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Downloading the visualisation

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Key findings

  • The number of people working in adult social care was estimated at 1.49 million.
  • The number of adult social care jobs in England as at 2018 was estimated at 1.62 million – this has increased by around 1.2% (19,000 jobs) between 2017 and 2018.
  • The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs was estimated at 1.13 million.
  • An estimated 18,500 organisations were involved in providing or organising adult social care in England as at 2018. Those services were delivered in an estimated 39,000 establishments.


  • Since 2009, the workforce has continued to shift away from local authority jobs (a decrease of 37%, or 65,000 jobs) and towards independent sector jobs (an increase of 30%, or 290,000 jobs).
  • The number of jobs within independent care homes with nursing increased between 2017 and 2018 (by 2% to around 295,000 jobs). This figure had, however, decreased by 5,000 jobs between 2016 and 2017.
  • Registered nurses were one of the only jobs in adult social care to see a significant decrease, down 10,500, or 20% since 2012.

Forecast and trends

  • 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 36% (580,000 jobs) to around 2.2 million jobs by 2035.



Further resources

  • Also available at England level is the State of the workforce information, which looks at workforce characteristics, issues and trends. 
  • To support the publication of workforce intelligence publications, we have published an adult social care workforce estimates excel file, which can be found here.
  • At regional level are nine annual reports, providing an overview of adult social care services and the workforce in each region.

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