NEWSFLASH: Domiciliary care jobs overtake residential roles in sector first, report finds


The number of jobs in domiciliary care has for the first time overtaken the number of roles in residential services, a new report from Skills for Care has found.

The report, which calculates the size and structure of the adult social care workforce in England, reveals that the number of jobs in domiciliary services increased by 15% (95,000 jobs) between 2012/13 and 2019/20, compared to 4% (25,000 jobs) in residential care.

Year on year, domiciliary care jobs increased 4% from 685,000 to 715,000 in 2019/20, compared to a 1% fall in residential care jobs from 685,000 to 680,000.

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The total number of adult social care jobs in England stands at 1.65 million, an increase of 1% on 2017/18, with domiciliary care jobs accounting for 43%, residential 41%, community services 13% and day services 2% of this total.

There were 10,200 CQC regulated non-residential establishments in 2019/20, including domiciliary care (9,500), supported living (1,750), extra care housing (500) and nursing agencies (15) in 2019/20, an increase of 67% since 2009.

Comparatively, there were 15,600 CQC regulated residential establishments in 2019, including care homes and nursing homes, a decrease of 16% in the same period.

Skills for Care also found that since 2012/13, the workforce has continued to shift away from local authority jobs – a decrease of 25%, or 37,000 jobs – and towards independent sector jobs – an increase of 11%, or 130,000 jobs.

The report notes that whilst the data was collected before COVID-19 struck, it is a reminder that the social care sector has a large and growing workforce whose needs must be taken into account to meet the demographic demands of the future.

It revealed that if the workforce grows proportional to the projected number of people aged 65 and over in England, then the number of adult social care jobs would need to increase by 520,000 jobs to around 2.17 million by 2035, in line with Skills for Care’s 2018 estimate.

Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth (pictured) said: “This report could not have been published at a more opportune time as we begin to consider what our sector will look like now and into the future. Having access to high quality data at our fingertips means we will make decisions that will help make sure people who access care and support services can live the lives they want to which is our number one priority.”

The Skills for Care report also comments on the workforce pressures that have been leveraged upon the adult social care sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, the average number of days lost to sickness was around 8% between March and June 2020, compared to 2.4% pre-COVID-19. Sickness days will include those self-isolating and shielding as well as those who were unwell, including COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related illness.

Commenting on the report, Care England CEO Professor Martin Green said: “This report makes it crystal clear that in the coming weeks and months, both providers and the adult social care workforce need to be prioritised as they remain at the frontline in combatting COVID-19. Furthermore the trend of a shift away from local authority jobs towards independent sector jobs articulates the need for the independent sector to involved in the future development of adult social care.”

Applauding the social care workforce, Smyth added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the professionalism and sacrifice of our workforce who have worked so hard during the most challenging times our sector has ever faced. I hope you will use the data in this report to shape how your organisation responds to the post pandemic world.”

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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