Adult Social Care Workforce Grows Again To Meet Increasing Demand

The number of people working in adult social care across has increased again to 1.52 million according to a new report by Skills for Care.

Their annual ‘Size and structure of the adult social care workforce in England’ report also reveals that if the adult social care workforce grows proportional to the projected number of people aged 65 and over in the population, then the number of adult social care jobs would need to increase by 520,000 jobs to around 2.17 million jobs by 2035.

Skills for Care’s Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) is funded by the Department of Health and Social care and uses workforce data supplied by twenty thousand frontline employers. The data used in this report for the 2019/20 period was collected prior to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in England.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • An estimated 18,200 organisations were involved in providing or organising adult social care in England.
  • An estimated 38,000 establishments were involved in providing or organising adult social care in England.
  • It is estimated that approximately 70,000 direct payment recipients were employing their own staff.
  • Since 2012/13, the number of adult social care jobs has increased by 9% or 130,000 jobs, to 1.65 million jobs in 2019/20.
  • The rate of increase for adult social care jobs has slowed – between 2014/15 and 2019/20, the workforce grew by around 15,000 jobs per year compared to an average increase of 26,000 jobs per year between 2012/13 and 2014/15.
  • Since 2012/13, the workforce has continued to shift away from local authority jobs (a decrease of 25%, or 37,000 jobs) and towards independent sector jobs (an increase of 11%, or 130,000 jobs).
  • The number of jobs in domiciliary services increased at a faster rate between 2012/13 and 2019/20 – an increase of 95,000 jobs and 15% – than jobs in residential services – an increase of 25,000 jobs and 4%.
  • Registered nurses were one of the only jobs in adult social care to see a significant decrease over the period down 15,500, or 30% since 2012/13.

Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth said: “We are grateful to all the employers who have contributed their data because as we start to think about what the adult social care sector will look like after the pandemic it is vital we do that based on the gold standard data in this report.”

“This report is a reminder of the vital role our growing workforce will play in any future reform of our sector and their skills, knowledge and commitment to person centred care will support people to live the lives they want to.”

Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has welcomed the publication of Skills for Care’s workforce report.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:

“This report corroborates many of those key messages which Care England and the sector at large have been putting to the Government both during and before the COVID-19 pandemic. The report highlights in stark terms the need for further investment in the adult social care sector if we are to meet the demographic demands of the future”.

Skills for Care’s ‘The Size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ comments upon the workforce pressures that have been leveraged upon the adult social care sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the average number of days lost to sickness, including staff self isolating and shielding, was around 8.0% between March and June 2020, compared to 2.4% pre-COVID-19. It also reasserts the worrying path which the UK Government has taken with its exclusion of a care workers route the countries post-Brexit immigration system. However, if the Government continues along this route then it must be followed by significant levels of investment in the adult social care workforce.   The report can be found at

Martin Green continues: “This report makes it crystal clear that in the coming weeks and months, both providers and the adult social care workforce need to be prioritised as they remain at the frontline in combatting COVID-19. Furthermore the trend of a shift away from local authority jobs towards independent sector jobs articulates the need for the independent sector to involved in the future development of adult social care”.

The full report can be downloaded here












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