Vacancy rates in social care continue to rise, new Skills for Care data reports

Skills for Care’s latest workforce tracking data, released this week, shows that vacancy rates are continuing to rise across all settings in adult social care.

In May 2022 vacancy rates increased to 10.3%, a slight increase from 10.2% in April 2022. This compares to rates of 5.8% in May 2021. This aligns with comments made by the Secretary of State in his evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee on 7th June, when he stated that Skills for Care has reported vacancy rates of over 10% and “they are probably closer to where the situation really is”.

Following the peak of the pandemic, vacancy rates have been rising and are now higher than they were pre-covid. This comes after a decrease in vacancy rates during the pandemic, which could be attributed to fewer jobs being available in other sectors and a sense of loyalty to supporting the sector through the crisis.

An increase in vacancy rates in recent months reflects the recruitment and retention challenges employers have faced post-pandemic as other sectors have re-opened and as some social care staff have felt the impact of the past two years.

Meanwhile, the number of filled posts is decreasing with a drop of 4.5% filled posts among employers reporting data in the adult social care workforce data set (ASC-WDS) since March 2021 to May 2022. This is a similar picture to the previous month where the number of filled posts was down 4.4%. The number of filled posts in care homes reflects the sector-wide pattern, while for domiciliary care specifically filled posts are down 4.9%, compared to 4.7% in April 2022.

A decrease in the number of filled posts across the sector is a new trend. Jobs over the past several years have consistently increased to keep up with the rising demand for care due to the ageing population. Given the vacancy rate has also risen over the same period, this points towards recruitment and retention difficulties for the sector rather than a decrease in demand, with employers not being able to find and recruit the staff they need.

This latest data comes as Skills for Care prepares to launch a campaign focused on ‘Building and growing your team’ which will run through July and August, providing recruitment and retention information and support for social care employers.

by Wendy
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