however, social care needs a long-term plan for the workforce

 There was a rise in the number of vacant post vacancies increased, and there was also a slight reduction in staff turnover. These figures indicate the release of stress on the social service sector. The providers and the people who depend on services are hoping for this to be sustained.

Looking at the figures, it’s clear the decline in vacant positions was due to an increase in caregivers coming into the UK from abroad, increasing from  Even though they’re welcome, new workers from overseas still need to provide the solution to the ongoing shortage of social care workers.

Their arrival is due to a government policy change on December 20, 2021. In the face of record-high unemployment rates, and based on the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Council, the government reduced the bar of care staff being able to work within the UK. Care assistant and care worker positions are now on the “shortage job list’. This means that when they could locate a UK firm willing to sponsor them, they could obtain visas for relatively low-paying positions.

The most straightforward way to grasp the changes since then is to look up YouTube. Find “care assistant visa sponsorship opportunities UK to discover a variety of videos aimed at overseas workers and describing how to apply for positions in UK healthcare institutions ( an example is here). Most of the time, these videos provide step-by-step instructions for specific roles at care facilities currently hiring. Other workers, especially in India, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, respond enthusiastically to the opportunities highlighted by the video and to the targeted recruitment campaigns of agencies and care providers.

The surge of staff has ensured the adult care sector has been able to stay above the water over the last twelve months, but this does not mean that we are blind to the severe challenges the industry is facing in attracting employees from outside the UK in its own right, or to the fundamental weakness of the industry that this issue shows.

With the influx of new workers worldwide, 9.9 percent of social care positions (were empty in the 2022/23 period ) were just marginally better than the 10.6 percent rate of vacancies in 2022/22. Although less reliable, monitoring monthly activity suggests the rate may have dropped to 8.9 percent by the end of June 2023. But, it is far more than the pre-Covid-19 level of 7.3 percent. And, even more alarmingly, it is more than the vacancy rate for the entire economy (3.4 percent). The unfortunate reality is that even when there are better possibilities in the job market, people will take the opportunity to work instead of in social care.

The main reason is the pay. The starter pay is not only low in social care, but progress in revenue could be faster. A worker with five years of experience typically earns just 7p more per hour than when they began. Pay gaps are, in turn, a result of a market where the majority of social care is provided by local authorities, primarily from private companies, at prices that are often not enough to pay staff significantly more than the minimum wage of the National Minimum. The low prices paid to care providers are an indication of the long-term underfunding of local authorities in order to perform their social care duties in the face of the ever-growing demand.

But it’s not only about pay. People are aware that the importance of care needs to be recognized in the eyes of society, and the roles within the field of care are beautiful to males, who comprise less than one-fifth of the workforce currently.

This is the shaky sector that 70,000 foreign workers entered in 2022. The workers – as well as their counterparts who have joined since, are welcome with warm arms. However, at the same, it is essential to work right now to make social care a more appealing alternative for UK employees, or else there’s no chance of attracting the additional 480,000 social care workers that estimates indicate will be required in 2035. The NHS has developed a 10-year plan for workforce development, but it’s time to create one for social care.

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