The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England

Author Helen Mthiyane
Posted 2019.10.21

Skills for Care: The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England.


This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the adult social care workforce in England and the characteristics of the 1.49 million people working in it. Topics covered include: employment information, recruitment and retention, demographics, pay, qualification rates and future workforce forecasts.


Key findings :

  • The estimated turnover rate of directly employed staff working in the adult social care sector was 30.8%, equivalent to approximately 440,000 leavers over the year. 
  • It is estimated that 7.8% of the roles in adult social care are vacant, equal to approximately 122,000 vacancies at any time.
  • Around a quarter of the workforce (24%) were on a zero-hours contract (370,000 jobs). Almost half (43%) of the domiciliary care workforce were on zero-hours contracts. This proportion was even higher for care workers in domiciliary care services (58%).
  • The average number of sickness days was 4.8, this equates to approximately 6.94 million days lost to sickness in the past 12 months.
  • The majority (84%) of the adult social care workforce were British, 8% (115,000 jobs) had an EU nationality and 9% (134,000 jobs) a non-EU nationality.
  • Since the introduction of the mandatory National Living Wage (NLW) care worker pay in the independent sector has increased at a higher rate than previous years.
  • Care workers in the bottom 10% of the pay distribution benefitted the most from the introduction of the NLW (an increase of 9.4%) whereas the pay for the top 40% of earners increased at a slower rate.


Full Report.