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Social care sector: zero hour contracts, high turnover and mainly British

25 September 2018

This Skills for Care report examines workforce characteristics about the entire adult social care workforce in England such as age, gender, ethnicity and specific job role information.

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Key findings for adult social care

  • A quarter of the workforce were on a zero-hours contract (335,000 jobs).

  • The staff turnover rate was 30.7%, equivalent to around 390,000 leavers in the previous 12 months.

  • Many of these leavers move to other roles within the sector as 67% of recruitment is from within adult social care.

  • Adult social care has an experienced 'core' of workers. Workers had, on average, 8.2 years of experience in the sector.

  • The vacancy rate was 8.0%, equivalent to around 110,000 vacancies at any given time. The majority of these vacancies (76,000) were care workers.

  • A fifth of all workers (320,000 jobs) were aged over 55 years old.

  • The majority (83%) of the adult social care workforce were British, 8% (104,000 jobs) had an EU nationality and 10% (130,000 jobs) a non-EU nationality.

21% of workers with an EU nationality also already have British Citizenship and that 50% of EU workers arrived in the UK either in or prior to 2015, and therefore may have gained the five years continuous residency required for ‘Settled status’. The remaining 29% of EU workers will be eligible for ‘pre-settled status.

  • Prior to the National Living Wage, care worker hourly rates increased by around 13p (1.9%) per year. The launch of the NLW saw the average hourly rate increase by 20p (2.7%) then by 39p (5.2%) in the following year.