Retention in social care – “grim and relentless”?

Retention in social care – “grim and relentless”?

Retention in social care – “grim and relentless”?

A recent survey published by the NCF highlighted further increases of pressure for frontline social care with some concerning statistics from their membership:

66% of the homecare providers responding are now having to refuse new requests for home care and 43% of providers of care homes are closing to new admissions, while 21% of providers of home care are handing back existing care packages.

​There are a number of factors causing this continued pressure on the social care sector, currently reporting 18% vacancies and a 14% absent workforce. Whilst we can assume that absence due to the Omicron variant will be temporary, the increasing vacancies is a real concern.

So, what factors are impacting on retention? Well, there are multiple factors, some of which being:

Mandatory Vaccinations:

The U-turn on this policy may be too little too late. The sector saw around 40,000 workers leave due to mandatory vaccinations and there are no guarantees they will return.

Internal Environment: 

The internal environment has a part to play in rising staff turnover too. Care staff have been firefighting for two years now and that is starting to take its toll. Of course staff are tired having been under so much pressure for such a sustained period. This can lead to overworked managers not having capacity to support their existing staff or properly onboard new starters – leading to staff leaving.

Lack of available flexibility is also forcing staff to look for roles that provide better work life balance. Flexibility is particularly important in attracting and retaining Gen Z workers (watch our early talent for social care event here). Gen Z make up less than 11% of the care workforce today – a real untapped potential workforce for the sector.


Although there is no evidence to directly link staff leaving roles with Brexit – there are certainly less arrivals in the UK to take up care roles and other sector roles such as hospitality. Other sectors struggling for candidates can often pay more, which can entice existing care workers to leave.

This all sounds very bleak and it is certainly concerning, however there are steps care providers can take to boost staff retention levels.

Come along to our event on the 17th March where we will share some best practice hints and tips.


Register for the Retention Event

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