The adult social care workforce will need to increase by 520,000 jobs in order to meet projected demand by 2035, a new report has warned.
Skills for Care’s annual ‘Size and structure of the adult social workforce in England’ report shows that the number of adult social care jobs increased by 9%, or 130,000 jobs, between 2012/13 and 2019/20 to 1.65m jobs.
The rate of increase slowed between 2014/15 and 2019/20, however, to 15,000 per year, compared with 26,000 jobs between 2012/13 and 2014/15. Current annual job growth would have to more than double to meet the 2.17m jobs Skills for Care says will be required by 2035.
Skills for Care also lays bare the ongoing shortfall in nursing jobs in social care. The number of registered nurses has fallen by 30%, or 15,500, since 2012/13.
While the data for the report was collected prior to the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the research does reveal that sickness levels were around 8% between March and June 2020, compared with 2.4% prior to COVID-19.
Vacancy levels between March and June 2020 fell from 8.3% to 6.6%, which Skills for Care attributed to a drop in demand. A Skills for Care survey in May 2020 found that 46% of responding employers were seeing lower demand alongside evidence of falling occupancy.
Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth, (pictured) said: “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.”
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, added: “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.”