Is There an Increasing Shortage of Personal Care Assistants in the UK?

Is There an Increasing Shortage of Personal Care Assistants in the UK?

The UK is facing a severe shortage of social carers, with the number of people needing care increasing and the number of carers available to provide it decreasing. This is having a devastating impact on the lives of those who need care, as well as their families and friends.

The shortage of social carers is due to a number of factors. Firstly, there is an ageing population in the UK, with more people living longer and requiring more support. This means that there are more people needing care than ever before. Secondly, there is a lack of funding for social care services, meaning that many local authorities are unable to recruit enough staff to meet the demand for care. Additionally, there is a lack of awareness about the importance of social care and how it can help people live better lives. Finally, there is a lot more competition for  people who might be looking for 'vocational' work, such as driving an Uber or working in an Amazon warehouse.

The consequences of this shortage are far-reaching. Those who need social care are not receiving the support they need, leading to increased levels of loneliness and isolation. Families and friends are also struggling to cope with caring for their loved ones without adequate support from professionals. Furthermore, those who do manage to find work in social care often face low pay and long hours, making it difficult for them to make ends meet.

It’s clear that something needs to be done about this crisis in social care provision in the UK. A greater awareness about the importance of social care and how it can help people live better lives is required.  In addition, some may say that the  government needs to invest more money into social care services so that local authorities can recruit enough staff to meet demand. Finally, those working in social care need better pay and working conditions so that they can continue providing vital support for those who need it most. Based on an analysis of recent and voluminous data, UKCIL would argue that the spend needs to be attributed in a more efficient way, tailoring higher spend on the cases that are most in need of it. A thorough analysis of a local market is key, before any unilateral increase in budgets is considered.

UKCIL's PA recruitment and reporting portal handles considerable data, with volumes of UK-based PAs and employers nearing 35,000. Analytics reviewing the last 12 months show that the number of vacancies is growing month on month in the UK, Albeit marginally in 2022, there was a considerable increase in the number of PAs signing up for care work and applying to UKCIL vacancies in January 2023.

January '23 has been a noticeably busier month, compared to previous Januaries, with some days doubling averages for the last 12 months. Applications were in the thousands last month and February is on course to show the same. It may be too early to say but this initially indicates a busy marketplace, with abundant opportunity to engage with job-seeking PAs - even if there are fewer and / or more difficult 'conversions' into advertised roles. UKCIL's analysis has also found that a low wage, in a rural area, combined with a split-shift (i.e. that which requires a carer to visit a home more than once in a 24-hour period) will the most detrimental impact on PA interest in a role.

If you are a Council or Supporting Organisation that is interested in using effective, data driven approaches to accelerate PA-recruitment for your employers and wish to develop your local social care workforce, please speak to UKCIL for more information.