One in three social care workers plan to leave the sector in the next five years, according to research.
The research by Totaljobs in partnership with Care UK revealed a fifth of carers were already seeking roles outside social care, even though there are 110,000 vacancies in the sector.
Alexandra Sydney, Director at Totaljobs, said: “Totaljobs has seen a growing interest in social care roles, with applications up 13% compared to August 2018. However, our research highlights that there is more to be done to protect a sector in demand.”
Of those looking to leave the sector, more than half (51%) said they were considering a move to healthcare, 43% to retail and 24% to hospitality. One in five of respondents said they intended to leave the sector within the next two years, with more than half (57%) planning to leave within the next ten years.
The expected exodus is set against a background of an ageing population that means the UK will need 650,000 more workers by 2035. The shortfall is being exacerbated by a lack of interest from younger people with 56% of 16-25 year olds saying they would not consider a career in the sector. Over half of 16-25 year olds said teachers, parents or friends had not spoken to them about a career in care.
Despite the challenges facing the sector, eight in 10 carers said they were proud of their career and two-thirds would recommend others to take a social care role, nearly seven out of 10 (68%) would recommend a career in social care. Asked what was best about their roles, 60% said building relationships with those they care for and 58% said being able to give back to society.
When asked what could be done to enhance their careers, respondents outlined the following priorities: feeling more valued by their employer (59%); an increase in salary (51%); greater support from management (46%); strong leadership (42%); greater career progression (41%); more training and development opportunities (40%); more flexible working hours (37%); reduced stress (35%); job security and stability (31%); and funded qualification (28%).
While 90% of the wider public believe that social care was an essential role in society, two thirds of people (67%) said they would never consider a career in the sector, citing concerns over low pay (42%), emotionally challenging work (41%) and perceptions of unappealing work (29%).