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Ageing social care worker pool could cause talent time bomb

Between the year ending March 2014 and year ending March 2015, the Social Care Index shows that the percentage of TSCW hires aged between 45 and 54 has risen by 9.3% to account for 32.8% of the total temporary social care workforce. In comparison the numbers of TSCW hired aged 16 to 24 and 25 to 34 decreased by 21.8% and 6.1% respectively between the same periods.

The marked reduction of temporary assignments offered to the under 34s means those who have just entered the profession or are developing a career are finding it harder to adequately develop their skills in the workplace. This could cause a skills shortage time bomb, as older TSCW will eventually retire from the profession and leave it with an unskilled workforce.

The number of temporary workers undertaking assignments requiring a & lsquo;qualified worker’, such as those with degrees or registered with the Health Care Profession Council in England, has risen by 14.6% now 69.5% of the total TSCW population. Meanwhile unqualified worker assignments have dropped by 14.2%.There are now two qualified workers for every unqualified one, which suggests that local authorities are focusing temporary resources on supporting permanent workers to manage high caseloads. 

Jamie Horton, Managing Director at Comensura said: “The demand for a qualified and older workforce shows that local authorities are focussing their efforts more into crisis situations rather than preventative services. As this requires more specialist skills, councils increasingly require resources from qualified temporary social care workers. 

“There is high demand for qualified temporary social workers and local authorities must do more to offer assignments to those with less experience or who have just entered the profession. This should equip them in the long-term with the skills that they require to be an effective social worker.  Let’s not forget that the older and qualified TSCW in demand at the moment won’t be working in years to come, so it’s important that we ensure that their skills are transferred to their younger peers.”

Other findings from Comensura’s Social Care Index show that around three quarters of the temporary social care workforce is female, however the number of people taking a TSCW role has increased for both genders. There has also been a 13.5% year on year rise in TSCW changing their employment status by moving from PAYE to a & lsquo;limited’ status, such as by being paid via an umbrella organisation or becoming a limited company contractor. Over nine out of ten qualified TSCW work under a & lsquo;limited’ status, but only two out of ten unqualified TSCW do.

The research was collated through Comensura’s social care index, which analysed the usage of TSCW in local authorities in England and Wales from April 2014 to March 2015, and compared it to that of the previous year.

To view the research in full, click here: http://bit.ly/1jHdn68

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