Social care staff survey reveals ageing workforce and turnover hike

The National Care Forum's latest survey of 40 providers shows improvements in the qualification levels of social care staff, but identifies challenges around attracting young people to the sector.

Care providers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain younger people, according to the National Care Forum’s (NCF) latest staffing survey.

There has been a 3.6% fall in the proportion of care staff aged 35 and under and a 1.5% drop in those aged 25 and under over the last three years. Almost half (46%) of care staff are now aged 46 and above.

Des Kelly, NCF’s executive director, said: “The proposals in the recent White Paper to expand care ambassador schemes and significantly increase apprenticeships in the care sector are clearly essential steps to helping to address the continuing difficulties of recruitment and retention faced by care providers.

“This has become an urgent issue, as our survey underlines.”

The research, which draws on data from 40 organisations and more than 55,600 staff, also identified a slight increase in rates of staff turnover, particularly in residential and domiciliary care for older people (rising from 17.8% to 19.6% and 23.9% to 27.7% respectively).

The only exception was in domiciliary care for adults, where turnover rates fell from 18.2% last year to 15.9% in 2012.

However, there have been steady improvements in qualification rates across the board. The proportion of care staff with or working towards a minimum of an NVQ level 2 qualification is 68.2%, up from 65.2% in 2011.

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