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Skills for Care annual report: 2022

The annual report published by Skills for Care was released on October 11th, and here are some key details:

One in five residential care workers in the UK was living in poverty before the cost-of-living crisis, according to new research. Care home and assisted living staff are also far more likely to live in poverty than the average UK worker, according to an analysis by the Health Foundation.

The think tank pooled data over three years from two government surveys on the incomes and living circumstances of households and families in the UK.

Health Foundation director of policy, Hugh Alderwick, said:

"Social care workers - who are mostly women - play a vital role in society but are among the lowest paid workers in the UK, and experience shocking levels of poverty and deprivation.

"Many cannot afford enough food, shelter, clothing, and other essentials, putting their health at risk.

"Sustained underfunding of social care has contributed to unacceptable pay and conditions for staff and major workforce shortages, with vacancies in England rising by 52% last year.

"This reflects political choices. If government values people using and providing social care, it must act to tackle low pay and insecure employment conditions in the sector."

Poverty was defined as having a household income below 60% of the median household income after housing costs.

  • 1/5 residential care workers (18.5%) were living in poverty in between April 2017 and April 2020

  • This compares to 12.5% of all workers, and 8.5% of health workers, with "limited change" since 2012, which suggests "persistently high levels of poverty".

  • The analysis found a further 8.5% of care workers were living just above the poverty line, meaning in total more than a quarter were living in or on the brink of poverty.

  • The workforce was also twice as likely to receive Universal Credit and benefits from the old system than general workers (19.6% versus 9.8%), the report said.

Over a quarter of England's adult social care workforce is over 55 and may retire in the next decade - leaving already high vacancy rates even higher. That's according to a new report from Skills for Care, which also revealed staff turnover rates at nearly 30 percent last year.

The Skills for Care report also revealed that there was a total of 1.79 million posts in adult social care. Of these 1.62 million were filled, leaving 165,000 posts unfilled.

The report also shows the number of filled posts fell by 50,000 compared with the previous year - the first drop ever and the average vacancy rates across the adult social care sector are at nearly 11 per cent, twice the national average.

Staff turnover rates within care roles remain high at 29% as approximately 400,000 people left their jobs. However, not everyone who leaves their job leaves social care - with around 63% of people working in the sector having been recruited from other care roles. Social care is still seeing high rates of turnover amongst the youngest staff with 52.6% of people under 20 leaving within 12 months.

Care chiefs are warning the report is yet another “signal” of a social care system “on its knees” and if these figures start becoming a trend, it will be really hard to find the extra 480,000 posts Skills for Care suggests the sector will need by 2035.

At the same time the demand for care has risen, highlighting that social care is facing a complex challenge with recruitment and retention which will be impacting on the lives of people who need social care.

Visit the Skills for Care website by clicking here to read the annual State of Care report in full.

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