143,000 care workers leave the sector, new analysis of the care workforce finds

Nearly 150,000 care workers are estimated to have left the sector in 2019/20, according to a new report from Skills for Care.

The turnover rate for directly employed staff working in the adult social care sector was 30.4%, equivalent to around 430,000 people leaving the sector over the course of the year.

Many of those that left their roles, however, would remain in the sector as it is estimated that 67% of recruitment is from within adult social care.

The rise means that turnover has now increased by more than 10 percentage points since the 2012/13 level.

A significant proportion of staff turnover happened due to people leaving the sector soon after joining, as turnover was highest for those with less than one year of experience. This, in turn, has meant employers have struggled to recruit and retain suitable candidates to join the sector.

Skills for Care estimates that 7.3% of the roles in adult social care were vacant, equal to approximately 112,000 vacancies at any given time.

Almost a quarter of the workforce (24%) were employed on zero-hours contracts, with 42% of all domiciliary care workers being employed on zero-hours contracts.

On the subject of care worker pay, the report noted that, since the introduction of the mandatory National Living Wage (NLW), pay in the independent sector had increased at a higher rate than previous years.

Since 2016, the hourly rate has increased by an average of 3.9%, however a higher proportion of care workers were paid at the new, minimum hourly rate.

Responding to the publication James Bullion, ADASS President, said “It is a source of national shame that we think about care as minimum wage work and the result is 30% turnover rates and a lack of continuity of care.

“We will only get the care and support we want for ourselves and our families by recognising, valuing and rewarding those that provide that care and support.”

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