Skills for Care has released its latest monthly data for the social care workforce. The figures show that vacancy rates are continuing to rise, while the number of filled posts is falling.
Vacancy rates have increased from a low of 5.9% in March 2021 to 10% in March 2022.
During the pandemic vacancy rates decreased with fewer jobs being available in other sectors and some care workers reporting they felt a loyalty to help the sector through the challenges 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 has decreased by 4.6% between March 2021 and March 2022. The decrease was greater in care homes with nursing, which fell by 6%.
A decrease in jobs in the sector is unusual. Jobs over the past several years have consistently increased to keep up with the rising demand for care due to the ageing population. 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.
Since March 2021 when the wider economy began to open back up, fewer people are taking up roles in the sector (starters rates are 4.2 percentage points lower) and more people are leaving (staff turnover rates are 4.9 percentage points higher).
The average number of sickness day over the previous 12 months has also recently started increasing. This comes as public restrictions on COVID-19 are lifted.
Oonagh Smyth, CEO of Skills for Care says:
“Our latest monthly data highlights the recruitment and retention challenges that we know providers are facing right now. Through our recruitment resources, and by working directly with providers, local authorities, and the Department of Health and Social Care we are aiming to support employers to tackle this challenge.
“At the same time, we must also see this as an opportunity to attract new people to build a career in care. We must focus on showcasing the rewards of building a long and fulfilling career in social care, and this is a core part of Skills for Care’s strategy over the next three years.”
View the full data: www.skillsforcare.org.uk/monthly-tracking