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More than a quarter of the social care workforce say they expect to quit in the next year

A survey finds social care workers feel valued, but not through their pay as Wales’s Deputy Minister for Social Services says “there is much more to do to ensure our workforce feel valued and have the best possible support available.”

16/10/23

More than a quarter of the social care workforce say they expect to quit in the next year

More than a third (38%) of social workers in Wales are dissatisfied with their current job, according to a Social Care Wales survey of the registered workforce.

More than three quarters (77%) said that having too much work or not having enough time to do it causes additional stress at work.

Generally, social care workers said they feel valued by the people and families they support. But they also feel undervalued by the public and underpaid for the work they do.

While more than three quarters (76%) feel valued by those they care for, just 44% say the same about the general public, and 48% about partner agencies like health staff and police.

Shockingly, the survey found that only one quarter (26%) of registered people are satisfied with their current level of pay, and a third (33%) say they’re finding it difficult to manage financially.

Social Care Wales worked with Opinion Research Services (ORS) to pilot the survey, which asked questions about things like health and well-being, pay and conditions, and what people like about working in the sector.

The survey was carried out between March and May 2023. In total, 3,119 social care workers (6% of the registered workforce) responded, from a wide range of roles.

The results were weighted to see what they could indicate about the views of the entire registered social care workforce in Wales.

Most say they started working in social care because they wanted to make a difference to people’s lives (63%), but more than a quarter claim they’re likely to leave the sector in the next 12 months (26%).

The most common reason given for expecting to leave in the next 12 months is low pay (66%), while feeling overworked (54%) and poor employment or working conditions (40%) are also significant factors.

Despite the challenges being faced by social care workers, 65% say their morale is good either all or most of the time.

The survey also found that 37% of registered people had experienced bullying, discrimination or harassment at work. Social Care Wales says it is working to find out more about the nature of these experiences and how they and their partners can best provide support.

The survey was the first of its kind and, combined with our workforce data collections, gives us an insight into working in social care we haven’t had before.

Social Care Wales says it will use the findings to inform the support and services we offer, as well as the work of partner organisations.

Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan said: “The outstanding commitment of our social care workforce has shone throughout the survey. However, the survey’s findings reinforce that there is much more to do to ensure our workforce feel valued and have the best possible support available.

“We know that making a difference to people’s lives is the main drive for the workforce and I am saddened that they feel undervalued by some. We are absolutely committed to working in partnership with the sector to address the findings within the report, including improving pay, terms and conditions and addressing recruitment and retention issues.”

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