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New report shows almost 85,000 people work in the social care sector in Wales

New report shows almost 85,000 people work in the social care sector in Wales

| Social Care Wales

A new report we’ve published reveals an estimated 84,134 people work in the social care sector in Wales.

We collected data for the Social care workforce report with the help of local authorities and commissioned providers in the summer of 2022.

This is the second time we’ve collected data about the entire social care workforce in Wales as a single exercise.

We changed the collection process for 2022 based on what we learned from the previous year. As a result, we received data of higher quality.

This meant we could make more accurate estimations this time around, but the changes also mean it’s difficult to accurately compare the 2022 figures with those from 2021.

All 22 local authorities in Wales returned data to us, along with 68 per cent of commissioned providers – made up of commercial businesses, not-for-profit and third-sector organisations.

Some of the main findings of the survey are:

  • 63 per cent of the social care workforce works for commissioned providers
  • residential care for adults is the largest part of the sector, with an estimated workforce of 29,100 people
  • 80 per cent of the workforce is employed on a permanent contract
  • 226 more people joined the sector than left in 2022
  • 5,323 vacancies were recorded, which makes up nine per cent of the total workforce
  • there were 703 vacancies in frontline social work teams, representing 16.5 per cent of the social care vacancies in Wales
  • 214,941 days were lost to sickness across the social care workforce in 2022
  • women make up 82 per cent of the workforce
  • 95 per cent of the workforce is from a white ethnic background
  • 29 per cent of the workforce has some Welsh language ability.

Sue Evans, our Chief Executive, said: “This report gives us a fantastic insight into the social care workforce in Wales, but it also highlights some of the challenges being faced by the sector – particularly around vacancy and sickness levels.

“The high vacancy rate is putting further strain on a sector that’s already under pressure because of increasing demand for social care services, and this in turn means citizens are having to wait longer for advice, assessments and support.

“It’s positive news that having data like this means we can make informed decisions about how best to support the sector to overcome those challenges and meet the needs of the population.”

Sarah McCarty, our Director of Improvement and Development, added: “This is the second year we’ve carried out the annual workforce data collection ourselves, and we’re working with employers to improve our approach and the quality of data.

“We also want to improve how research and data is used to help design and deliver services. We’ll be launching a ‘workforce insights series’ to share what we’ve learned from some of the most recent intelligence we have on the workforce in Wales in the coming months.”

We’ll be collecting data for the 2023 version of the report until the end of July.

Visit our information page to find out more about this year’s collection and to get support with sending us your organisation’s data.

Read the full report