Social care work

Around 390,000 people left their social care jobs in 2022/23 and around a third of them left the sector altogether, says Skills for Care in its annual State of Social Care report. In spite of the numbers leaving the sector, vacancy rates fell to 9.9% from 10.6% the previous year, although the reduced figure still represented 152,000 vacancies on any given day.

Skills for Care, which has promised to publish a national workforce strategy, sets out “what works” for retaining staff, boiling it down to five factors: 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, and having a relevant qualification.  Employees were twice as likely to leave their jobs if none of these applied with a turnover rate of 48.7% compared with 20.6% when all of them were the case.

There had been “some improvements” in workforce capacity, Skills for Care said, thanks to more international recruitment, more posts filled, fewer vacancies and less staff turnover. “It’s good to see green shoots for the sector and workforce in our latest report, which is testament to the hard work that’s gone into tackling the recruitment and retention challenges that we face,” said CEO Oonagh Smyth.  “But the challenges haven’t gone away.”

National Care Forum CEO Vic Rayner commented that turnover rates were still “unacceptably high.”  She added: “We believe a national workforce strategy cannot come soon enough, and we are committed to working with Skills for Care to ensure it hits the spot.”