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The size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, 2018

This report has been produced by Skills for Care and provides a comprehensive overview of the size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England as at 2017.

The report draws on several data sources to produce these estimates. The majority of the detail comes from the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC). The NMDS-SC is managed by Skills for Care on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care and has been collecting information about social care providers and their staff since 2006. For more information about the NMDS-SC please visit the Workforce Intelligence website.

Summary of key findings

Employers

  • An estimated 21,200 organisations1 were involved in providing or organising adult social care in England as at 2017.
  • An estimated 41,000 establishments2 were involved in providing or organising adult social care in England as at 2017.
  • Around 240,000 adults, older people and carers received direct payments3 from councils’ social services departments in 2016/2017. It is estimated that approximately 70,000 (29%) of these recipients were employing their own staff.

Workforce size

  • The number of adult social care jobs in England as at 2017 was estimated at 1.6 million.
  • The number of adult social care jobs was estimated to have increased by around 1.2% (19,000 jobs) between 2016 and 2017.
  • Since 2009 the number of adult social care jobs has increased by 21% (275,000 jobs).
  • The rate of increase for adult social care jobs has slowed – between 2014 and 2017 the workforce grew by around 15,000 jobs per year compared to an average increase of 45,000 per year between 2010 and 2014.
  • The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs was estimated at 1.13 million.
  • The number of people working in adult social care was estimated at 1.47 million.

Workforce structure

  • Since 2009, the workforce has continued to shift away from local authority jobs (-39% and -70,000 jobs) and towards independent sector jobs (+28% or 275,000 jobs).
  • The number of jobs for care homes with nursing decreased between 2016 and 2017 (by 5,000 to around 285,000 jobs). This figure had, however, increased by 24% (55,000 jobs) between 2009 and 2016.
  • Registered nurses were one of the only jobs in adult social care to see a significant decrease over the period (down 9,500 or 18% since 2012).

Workforce forecasts

  • If the adult social care workforce grows proportionally to the projected number of people aged 65 and over in the population then the number of adult social care jobs will increase by 40% (650,000 jobs) to around 2.25 million jobs by 2035.