Skills for Care

Thank you for contributing to our ‘State of’ report for 2023

12 Oct 2023

3 min read

  • Skills for Care

As we launch this year’s ‘State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ report, our CEO Oonagh Smyth gives thanks to the adult social care providers who make it all possible.

Publishing our annual ‘State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ report is a highlight every year for Skills for Care.

This is a huge piece of work which our teams across the organisation work hard towards all year. The comprehensive report provides rich insights to the Government and other key stakeholders which helps to inform policy and decision making about adult social care.

Last year our report was described by the Office for National Statistics as ‘the most comprehensive publicly available source of workforce statistics for the adult social care sector in England.’

But it’s not only our dedicated Skills for Care colleagues who make this report possible – it’s you; the 20,000+ adult social care providers who are providing their workforce data by using the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS).

The data that you provide in ASC-WDS is what allows our analysts to compile their insights and create our annual report which has so much impact for everyone working in social care and the people who draw on care and support.

So, as we release this year’s report, I want to acknowledge and thank each and every one of you who contribute your data using ASC-WDS and play a role in shaping this vital intelligence about the adult social care workforce.

We’re pleased to see that this year’s report has highlighted some positive improvements for adult social care - including more posts being filled, fewer vacancies and less turnover. The workforce grew by 1% in 2022/23 and vacancy rates reduced from 10.6% to 9.9%.

But we do know that challenges remain for the social care sector, and this too is evident in the report. While vacancy levels have reduced, they’re still high with 152,000 vacancies on any given day and 390,000 people having left their roles last year.

We know that retention is an important issue which we need to get right so that we can not only find but also keep the right people working in adult social care.

To support this, we’ve identified five key factors which help improve retention – these are:

  • being paid more than the minimum wage
  • not being on a zero-hours contract
  • being able to work full-time
  • being able to access training
  • having a relevant qualification.

Where none of these factors apply, care workers are more than twice as likely to leave their jobs than when all five factors apply – a 48.7% turnover rate compared with 20.6%. Implementing these factors should make it easier for the people who love what they do to stay, by improving terms and conditions and investing in their career development.

You can find more retention support and advice with our retention guide.

As a result of the findings in the report, Skills for Care is working with sector partners to develop a Workforce Strategy for adult social care.

The strategy will identify the social care workforce needed over the next 15 years and set out a plan for ensuring the sector has enough of the right people with the right skills. It will help employers and commissioners with workforce planning, support the Government’s reform agenda and complement the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan covering the same period, which was published earlier this year.

If you’ve not yet read this year’s report I would encourage you to take a look. These insights can support you with gaining a wider understanding of the current social care landscape and compare this to your own organisation. It can help with your thinking around key issues such as retention, workforce planning and recruiting new demographics.

If you’re not already signed up to ASC-WDS and sharing your insights to support the creation of our report and other intelligence, you can find out more about all the benefits of ASC-WDS and how to sign up on our webpage.

Once again thank you all for your contributions to the report and we look forward to seeing the impact which this year’s data has.

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