Why it has become even harder to recruit and retain staff in Social Care!

Skills for Care have just released their ‘State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England’ report which provides updated analysis of the current workforce and the characteristics of the people working in it.

The data shows that it has become even harder to recruit and retain staff since the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers calculated that employers in adult social care were failing to fill 8% of vacancies before the pandemic. Figures obtained since suggest this had fallen below 6% by June 2020, but by August 2021 had risen back up to 8.2%.

According to the report in 2020/21, there are 1.67 million jobs in adult social care and 1.54 million people currently working. This means there are 130,000 vacancies left unfilled in the sector. This paired with the 35,000 – 70,000 redundancies predicted in the sector due to the vaccination legislation coming into place in November, means the sector is being left even shorter than ever.


This is causing a knock-on effect as care companies are being forced to turn down work supporting service users due to the low staff levels, putting more pressure on the NHS, who are already struggling with COVID-19, as people are unable to move from the hospital back to their own homes or care homes.

Care companies are saying the main factors making it hard to find and keep staff in the sector are:
– Burnout from the pandemic
– Compulsory vaccinations
– Higher pay is available in other sectors as the economy picks up

The ONS also recently released some data stating there were 1.1 million job vacancies in the 3-month period between July to September 2021. The graph shows that the majority of these vacancies posted were in the Health and Social Care sector with a total of 172,000 (15.6% of the total vacancies). Interestingly the government has been providing support for other sectors as more of a priority, such as the transport and storage sector, for example, which only takes up 4.7% of the vacancies posted during this timeframe.

There are also a number of factors that were thought to have improved the number of people available to fill vacancies within health and social care that didn’t quite work out as expected. For example, 1 million workers were thought to be on furlough when the scheme ended at the end of September, but the wave of job cuts some experts predicted doesn’t seem to have happened. Many businesses with large numbers of workers furloughed say they have taken everyone back. In fact, the number of redundancies proposed by employers in September was close to record lows.

If you would like to discuss the above, or about how we can collaborate, please let us know. To get in touch, email or call us on 03305 552233.

As a specialist, family-run recruitment business, we provide a proactive and consultative approach to recruitment within Social Care. We help organisations to target issues such as continuity of staffing, reducing spend where you have a high volume of agency usage and supporting those who have specific talent requirements or are in hard to fill locations. We can help with any immediate staffing requirements or longer-term recruitment projects to ultimately save you time and money on agency spend.

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