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Skills for Care to develop 15-year care workforce strategy amid “green shoots” of recovery

Skills for Care is to develop a workforce strategy for adult social care amid workforce findings that suggest some improvements in workforce capacity – largely driven by an increase in international recruitment.

The new workforce strategy will cover the sector’s workforce needs over the next 15 years, as well as support the Government’s reform agenda and complement the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

Key findings from the most recent State of the Adult Social Care Workforce 2022/23 report show that five factors that are key to retaining staff. They are: 

  • being paid more than the minimum wage 
  • not being on a zero-hours contract 
  • being able to work full-time 
  • being able to access training 
  • having a relevant qualification. 

Where none of these factors apply, care workers are more than twice as likely to leave their jobs than when all five factors apply – a 48.7 per cent turnover rate compared with 20.6 per cent, according to Skills for Care analysis. 

Other key findings in the report include: 

  • The workforce grew by 1 per cent between April 2022 and March 2023 after shrinking for the first time on record the previous year. 
  • The vacancy rate fell to 9.9 per cent – around 152,000 vacancies on any given day – from 10.6 per cent the previous year. 
  • The turnover rate across the sector was 28.3 per cent in 2022/23 – down slightly from the previous year. 

Commenting, Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth, said: “Green shoots for the sector and workforce [are] testament to the hard work that’s gone into tackling the recruitment and retention challenges we face. But, we can’t simply recruit our way out of our retention challenges. So, we need a comprehensive workforce strategy.”

  • The Migration Advisory Committee recently recommended that care workers and senior care workers remain on the Shortage Occupation List. However, the MAC has said that it is “not convinced the SOL provides a sensible immigration solution to shortage issues in low wage sectors”.

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