The number of unfilled care jobs has risen by 52% between 2021 and 2022, the fastest increase on record, according to the Skills for Care annual report. There were a total of 1.79 million posts in adult social care; of these 1.62 million were filled, meaning there are currently a staggering 165,000 job vacancies in adult social care. This figure is unfortunately set to rise, with employers predicted to need to fill 480,000 more posts by 2035. Average vacancy rates across the care sector are at nearly 11% – twice the national average (across all sectors).
With the demand for care continuing to rise, the Health and Social Care (HSC) sector is facing a complex challenge with recruitment and retention, which inevitably impacts those requiring social care. This is something that Skills for Care CEO, Oonagh Smyth says must be addressed:
“The ‘People at the heart of care’ white paper had commitments to investing in knowledge, skills, health and wellbeing, and recruitment policies to improve social care as a long-term career choice.”
Oonagh Smyth also recognises that providing opportunities is key to closing the gap in the number of care workers we required:
“We must talk more about how rewarding social care is to work in so that we attract more people, and we must make it easier for the people who love working in social care to stay by improving terms and conditions and investing in their career development.”
As we have previously reported, the government committed £500 million in funding following the publication of the white paper, of which a significant proportion will be allocated to learning and development. This should help to attract people into – and encourage them to stay – within the care sector. Details of when and how the funding will be rolled out have not yet been finalised, but we understand that it may be available from April 2023. We do know that the government has pledged to fund 100,000 Care Certificates, the essential training that must be attained by all new recruits to the care sector. This is welcome news to employers in a sector where, in 2021/22, the starter rate fell from 37.3% in 2018/19 to 30.8%, with a similar turnover rate; in practice this means that around the same proportion of people are leaving their roles, but there are fewer people replacing them.
Here at EdgeWorks, we know that providing employees with a clear career pathway can make a huge difference to an organisation’s ability to recruit and retain staff (find out more about how EdgeWorks is key to Fitzroy’s Recruitment and Retention strategy in our recent blog). We can help you to offer your staff career progression opportunities, including access to funded training and qualifications. The EdgeWorks Funding Alliance connects HSC organisations with Further Education colleges via our learning platform Care Academy, which supports staff from induction through to fully qualified care worker.