The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, 2021

Skills For Care’s Workforce Intelligence Team (the strategic workforce development and planning body for adult social care in England)

This report provides information about the adult social care sector, including its size and structure, employment information, recruitment and retention issues, workforce demographics, pay, qualification rates, and future workforce forecasts.

Adult social care is a growing sector that, in 2020/21, comprised around 17,700 organisations across 39,000 care-providing locations, with a workforce of around 1.67 million jobs. The number of full-time equivalent jobs was estimated at 1.19 million and the number of people working in adult social care was estimated at 1.54 million in 2020/21; more than in the NHS (1.3 million people).

The adult social care sector was estimated to contribute £50.3 billion per annum to the economy in England. The total wage bill for the sector, calculated using the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set, accounted for around half of this amount at £23.9 billion in 2019/20 (up 8% from 2019/20). The number of adult social care jobs increased by 12% since 2012/13 (by 170,000 jobs). The number of jobs increased by around 2.8% (45,000 jobs) between 2019/20 and 2020/21. In recent months (since March 2021), however, ASC-WDS data shows a decrease in jobs (filled posts). Overall, the decrease was around -1.8% and is likely driven by recruitment and retention difficulties as the wider economy opens back up.