With labour shortages across all industries, could this report signal an ongoing problem for a crucial sector which has struggled to bounce back from the pandemic, and has also suffered from low immigration post-Brexit and famously low pay?
Read on to find out more.
The recent Health and Social Care Levy which came into force in April, is designed to generate extra cash for the NHS and social care. At least £500m has been promised to boost recruitment, retention, progression, and staff wellbeing in the social care workforce.
But money might not be the only problem.
A recent report from Skills for Care, the strategic workforce development and planning body for adult social care in England, states that filled posts in social care between 20/21 and 21/22 has decreased by around 3%. This is the first time this has happened since their records began in 2012/2013.
The number of vacant posts has also increased by 55,000, proving that the demand for care is growing. This suggests that the decrease in filled posts is a result of the industry struggling to recruit and retain staff rather than a reduction in demand for care.
Huge industryThe study highlighted the sheer size of the adult social care industry in this country, which employs 1.5 million people (4.5% of the UK’s workforce) across an estimated 39,000 establishments. For comparison, only 1.4 million people are employed by the NHS.
Independent care providersWhile local authority care providers benefit from additional support, the report also highlights that independent care providers seem to have a harder time recruiting and retaining staff, despite being the main providers of care. In the time frame it examined, the independent sector had a 45,000 decrease in filled posts, while posts with local authorities went largely unchanged.
How the pandemic affected social careWith many workers staying put during the pandemic, vacancy rates decreased. Skills for Care reported that many care workers felt that they should help the sector through the covid-19 outbreak. But now that the pandemic appears to be slipping down the list of the UK’s priorities, many care workers are defecting to industries such as retail where pay and conditions appear to be better.
Domiciliary Care ServicesThe number of filled posts in domiciliary care services fell by 19,000, which highlights that the demand for these services have increased as well as the demand for full home care.
The data suggests that the social care sector will require a 27% increase in posts by 2035 to maintain the current levels of care and support to the people who will need it. This means an uplift of around 480,000 posts, with a total number of roles of 2.27 million.
“This highlights the recruitment and retention challenges which we know social care employers are facing right now and is not a decrease in demand for care services. In fact, our forecast data tells us that we will need a 27% increase in posts in social care by 2035 to continue to maintain the current levels of care and support to people who will need it in the future,” says CEO of Skills for Care Oonagh Smyth.
Ship Shape are proud to partner with social care agencies who provide contractors to deliver a crucial service to people who desperately need it. Our team is always here to assist our clients. Get in touch today if you have any questions about supporting and retaining your contractors as the need for quality social care staff continues to grow.