ARC England survey results: Worrying picture for adult social care workforce recruitment and retention

Sewing activity at Leeds Autism Service
© Leeds Autism Services

An ARC England recruitment and retention member survey has found that learning disability providers are operating with staff vacancy rates of up to 25% of their total workforce and they report finding it increasingly difficult to compete in their local job markets. 75% have experienced an increase in staff turnover in the last three years.

64% of respondents told us that they are running with vacancies which represent up to 10% of their total workforce. A further one-third of respondents have vacancy rates of between 11 and 25%.

Adult social care staff recruitment and retention has long been an issue for providers and our survey shows how the Covid-19 pandemic is putting unsustainable pressure on providers.

ARC England have surveyed members on recruitment and retention in order to gather data to learn how we can best support members in this area. Our data will also be fed into the Department for Health and Social Care’s policy work on the sector.

Our membership tell us that they are finding it increasingly difficult to compete in their local job markets and 50% of respondents say that the rates of pay they are able to offer are lower than competing local roles. Members also report that many of the new recruits who joined social care during the pandemic after losing jobs in different sectors are now leaving because pay rates are not competitive enough (which suggests that people joined the care sector when they had no other option, but as the job market opened up, it did not make sense to remain when they could secure better pay elsewhere).

Providers tell us that they want staff who have a vocational commitment to care work and that they want to be able to recognise and reward the responsibility their staff take on, which is often much higher than in sectors offering better pay. This is why we are supporting the #BetterPay4SocialCare campaign; we believe that offering a living wage to social care workers would go a long way to easing the current recruitment and retention crisis in adult social care.

Clive Parry, ARC England Director