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

Published October 2020 (data correct as at 2019/20)

Next update due: Mid October 2021

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.


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


Downloading the visualisation

  • You can also download a PDF 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
  • If you require data that isn’t available in the visualisation or report below, please contact us.


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 66% 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, 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.



Further resources

  • Also available at England level is the size and structure information. which quantifies the size of the workforce split into detailed categories and number of employers.
  • 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.

If you cannot find what you are looking for or would like to commission our services, then please contact us.