Skills for Care

Skills for Care’s latest data shows social care vacancy rates continue to rise

11 May 2022

2 min read

Skills for Care’s latest workforce tracking data, released this week, shows that vacancy rates remain above pre-covid levels.

Vacancy rates have increased from 6.1% in April 2021 to 10.3% in April 2022.

During the pandemic vacancy rates decreased with fewer jobs being available in other sectors and some care workers reporting they felt they had to help the sector through the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak. Following the peak of the pandemic, and as the wider economy opened back up, vacancy rates have since been rising, and are now higher than they were before COVID-19.

At the same time, the number of filled posts are falling. Between March 2021 and April 2022, the number of filled posts has decreased by 4.4%. Care homes with nursing have shown the greatest decrease, with 6% fewer jobs.

A decrease in filled posts in the sector is unusual. Filled posts over the past several years have consistently increased to keep up with the rising demand for care. Given the vacancy rate has also risen over the same period, this points towards recruitment and retention difficulties for the sector rather than a decrease in demand, with employers not being able to find and recruit the staff they need.

The latest data also finds that the average number of sickness days over a 12 month period was 8.7 in April 2022, having fallen slightly from 9.2 days in March 2022. This average is still higher than prior to COVID-19 when the average was 5.6 days.

This latest data comes as we launch our ‘Creating a happy and healthy workplace’ campaign, supporting employers, managers, and individuals to create and be part of a healthy and happy workplace.

Our research has found that focusing on wellbeing factors including respecting and valuing staff, investing in learning and development, embedding the organisation’s values, and celebrating achievements, all go a long way to improving staff recruitment and retention.

Our latest campaign will provide information and resources to support employers finding and keeping staff.

Oonagh Smyth, CEO of Skills for Care says:

“We are not surprised to see our latest monthly data highlight an increase in vacancies across the sector, as we know that recruitment and retention continues to be an ongoing challenge for social care providers and so it is naturally a focus for us in the support we are offering.

“We think it’s incredibly important that we continue to highlight that this data also offers opportunities for employers to attract new people to build a rewarding career in care, and through our collaborative work with DHSC and other organisations across social care we will continue to support employers to provide fulfilling career opportunities to people who are new to care and those already working across the sector.”

View the full data:

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