Skills for Care says adult social care workforce continues to grow

13 August 2019

The Skills for Care annual report, which uses data from the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS), has shown that there has been a 22% growth in the total number of jobs in the adult social care workforce in England since 2009.

The report, Size and Structure of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England, 2019, showed that there are an estimated 18,500 organisations now involved in providing or organising adult social care in England. Those services were delivered across an estimated 39,000 establishments deeply embedded in their communities.

As at 2018, the number of adult social care jobs in England was estimated at 1.62 million. These jobs were carried out by 1.49 million people; the report acknowledged the fact that people can hold more than one adult social care job at a time.

The number of adult social care jobs was estimated to have increased by around 1.2%, or 19,000 jobs, between 2017 and 2018; in comparison, the number of adult social care jobs increased by 22%, or 290,000 jobs, since 2009.

It is clear that the rate of increase for adult social care jobs has slowed. Between 2014 and 2018 the workforce grew by around 16,000 jobs per year, compared to an average increase of 45,000 per year between 2009 and 2014.

The report also showed that around 237,000 adults, older people and carers received direct payments from councils' social services departments in 2017/2018, and it estimated that approximately 31% of these recipients were employing their own staff.

Only registered nurse jobs in adult social care saw a significant decrease, down by 10,500 jobs, or 20%, since 2012. In addition, the workforce has continued to shift away from local authority jobs with a decrease of 37%, or 65,000 jobs, since 2009, towards independent sector jobs which experienced an increase of 30%, or 290,000 jobs.

Skills for Care highlighted the obvious contribution that the growing workforce is making, supporting people to live the lives they want and also that the sector is now a key part of the national economy.

Skills for Care Interim CEO Andy Tilden said: “As we estimate we will need to fill another 580,000 jobs by 2035 that contribution is only going to grow, so we need to start thinking about how that is factored into economic planning locally and nationally.”

He added: "There is rightly a very live debate about the future of adult social care, and the robust data in this report allows us to make decisions about what future service delivery might look like based on what we know rather than gut feelings."

The report is available at