Skills for Care

What data tells us about how learning and development supports retention

17 Jan 2024

3 min read

Skills for Care

  • Learning and development
  • Retention

We round-up what our latest data tells us about how learning and development supports retention.

We know anecdotally that providing ongoing learning and development can support staff retention.

After all, investing in learning and development for your team provides them with new skills and knowledge which can help them to feel more confident in their roles and to develop and progress throughout a long career in social care. Investing in staff’s development also shows that you recognise their potential and you appreciate them and their contribution to their organisation, and you want to help them to develop.

It keeps their job roles new and exciting, all of which leads to increased job satisfaction and motivation, which links to staff loyalty.

This all makes sense, and the data also backs it up.

Our data shows that investing in learning and development for your team can support with keeping staff. Average turnover rates decreased from 37% among staff who had no qualifications to 26.5% among those that had a qualification.

The average turnover rate was 9.0 percentage points lower amongst care workers who had received some form of training (31.6%), compared to those who had not (40.6%).

The care workers who received more training opportunities also had lower turnover rates. The average turnover rate amongst care workers with one instance of training recorded was 35.1%. This decreased by 9.2 percentage points to 25.9% for those with more than 30 instances of training. This shows that continued investment in staff training can positively impact retention rates.

We know that retention of staff is one of the biggest challenges facing social care providers right now, and our recent ‘State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ report identifies five key factors which can impact on staff retention.

These are:

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

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%.

Using the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) we can observe the career progression of workers in adult social care between 2010 and 2023.

For ancillary staff, the most common career pathway was to progress to care worker, and then to senior care worker, or supervisory roles.

Senior care workers or supervisors were most likely to move into first-line managerial or registered manager roles.

Regulated professional workers can progress up the pay scale within their individual roles and were also observed to move into managerial posts.

Registered nurses generally progressed to registered manager roles, whilst social workers and occupational therapists moved into management roles within their local authority.

Care workers had a much higher turnover rate compared to other direct care providing roles at 35.6%; more than twice that of senior care workers at 15.3%. Senior care worker roles often have higher pay, guaranteed hours and have more training and qualification opportunities than care worker roles. These factors have been shown to be associated with better retention.

We published research in which employers with a turnover rate of less than 10% were asked to consider what they believe contributed to their success, in relation to recruitment and retention. 94% of respondents mentioned investing in learning and development.


Help us to create data insights by joining the 20,000 social care providers using the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS). As well as contributing data insights about social care using ASC-WDS can help you to manage staff records and training, and access a wide range of benefits. Find out more about ASC-WDS.

Find further articles and information about learning and development with our #KeepLearning spotlight.

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