Social care staff turnover rises

25 Sep 18

The proportion of adult social care workers in England leaving their jobs has increased 7.6% over the five years to 2017-18, according to workforce figures. 

Most of those leaving were new recruits, particularly people under 30 – with a turnover rate of 42.4% in the last financial year – according to the charity Skills for Care’s annual report, published today.

Total staff turnover rate was 30.7% last year, the figures showed, which was equivalent to around 390,000 leavers in the previous 12 months. There were around 1.6 million jobs in the social care sector in total in England last year.

“This level of turnover and churn indicates that employers are struggling to find, recruit and retain suitable people to the sector,” the report said.

“A large proportion of staff turnover is a result of people leaving jobs soon after joining.”

Sharon Allen, chief executive of Skills for Care, noted that government intends to publish a social care workforce strategy, which has been informed by the charity’s report.

“Never has it been more vital that the adult social care sector and the government have a robust evidence base to draw on when making decisions,” Allen wrote in the report’s foreword. 

Skills for Care also recognised a lot of people who quit their jobs do not actually leave the sector as 67% of those recruited to the profession in the last financial year were from within social care.

Commenting on the high turnover of younger workers, the charity’s report suggested: “It could be the case that some younger workers are taking social care jobs as a stop gap while they study or wait for a job in their preferred sector.

“Some younger people could be taking adult social care jobs due to a lack of choices, and subsequently not lasting long in the sector.”

Brexit negotiations have had little effect on the adult social work force “so far”, the report found, although pointed out there was still “a risk in terms of workforce supply” as it was “still unclear how immigration will work after the UK leaves the EU”.

The adult social care sector contributed £38.5bn to the economy in England last year and the number of adult social care jobs increased by 21% since 2009 (by 275,000 jobs).

Of the 1.35 million jobs, 78% were in the independent sector and 7% in the local authority sector.

Last week, the Migration Advisory Committee concluded that problems in the social care sector could not be laid at the door of European migration.

Its report suggested “competitive wages” be paid to British social care workers to deal with post-Brexit recruitment challenges.

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