Growth in social care workforce welcome but international recruitment not a long-term fix

Camille Oung responds to the Skills for Care report on the state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England.

Press release

Published: 12/10/2023

Responding to the Skills for Care The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, Nuffield Trust Fellow Camille Oung said:

“It is a welcome relief to see a small increase in the social care workforce over the last year. However, the number of posts unfilled remains uncomfortably high, with a vacancy rate higher than the NHS and the wider economy. Services also remain severely stretched and efforts to encourage more domestic trainees appear to be faltering, with 30,000 British workers leaving the sector in the last year.

“Much of the improvement seen has heavily relied on efforts to recruit internationally. While more people coming to work in our care system is vital, recruitment from overseas will not be a long-term solution unless the sector can address the problems it faces keeping people working in care because of undesirable or uncompetitive working conditions.

“Tackling pay rates that are not higher than the national living wage, improving terms and conditions and moving people away from temporary and unstable contracts would all do a great deal to improve the situation, but these problems have persisted for some time. We welcome the development of a long-term workforce strategy for social care outlined by Skills for Care and urge the government to support serious measures to ensure our care system has a valued and well-equipped workforce to meet the challenges now and in the future.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate
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