128,000 new care workers needed every year, says study

The social care sector is facing a staffing crisis with an estimated shortage of half a million workers over the next decade, reports a major new study from the trade body Care Association Alliance and law firm Royds Withy King.

Key findings from the Social Care Workforce Study:

  • The social care sector currently employs 1.47 million people
  • 23% are currently aged over 55
  • One in three workers leave the sector every year – the highest staff turnover rate of all sectors in the UK
  • Average pay for a care assistant is £350 a week, £200 a week lower than the UK all jobs average
  • 33% of all nurses and 16% of care assistants are foreign nationals
  • In London, 65% of care assistants and 84% of nurses are foreign nationals
  • Recruitment of new care staff to the sector slowed to just 20,000 a year in 2016, down from 65,000 in 2010.
  • 80% of the workforce is female.

Charles Taylor, Steering Group member, at the Care Association Alliance, said: “The UK has an ageing population – by 2030 we will have 13.25m individuals aged over 65 – and our report sets out to explore the challenge providers face in employing staff as Brexit looms large. Our findings do not paint an encouraging picture.

“The sector needs to recruit 128,000 new members of staff every year to replace those that retire or leave, and to meet increasing demands. Increased demand alone means that in 10 years’ time the sector needs 500,000 new members of staff. In 2016, the latest data we have, the sector managed to recruit just 20,000.

“To put that into context and based on the gender demographic of today’s care workforce where 80% is female. In 2017, 125,642 young women left secondary education. Assuming the care sector remains primarily staffed by women, it would need to recruit 102,000, or 81%, of those female school leavers every year to meet demand. That is clearly not possible, and illustrates the challenges the care sector faces,”

The Care Association Alliance is calling for the Government to reconsider its immigration proposals in light of the significant staff shortages in the care sector.

A full copy of the report is available here.

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