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27 Aug 2020

Workforce data

More people than ever work in Scotland’s social services

A new report, published by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) today, shows that more people than ever before work in Scotland’s social services. There are some 206,400 people in the workforce, which makes up approximately 7.8% of all Scottish employment or one in 13 jobs.

The figures are revealed in the Scottish Social Service Sector: Report on 2019 Workforce Data. The report highlights the size and importance of the social service workforce, which has played a vital role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lorraine Gray, SSSC Chief Executive said: ‘The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought Scotland’s social service workers to the fore and this report shows the size and breadth of the sector.

‘They play a vital role in protecting and supporting some of society’s most vulnerable citizens and represent one in 13 of all employment in Scotland, so make a significant contribution to the economy too.

‘As well as being skilled and qualified roles, people must also bring the right values and we can see from the report that this is a committed workforce with just over three quarters in the same post as the previous year.

‘One of the largest increases this year was in the day care of children sub-sector, with an extra 2,360 workers, as recruitment continues towards the expansion of free early learning and childcare. Although COVID-19 has delayed this deadline we expect increased recruitment to day care of children’s service to continue.’

Key points from this year’s workforce data report

  • The size of the workforce has increased to 206,400, a rise of 0.8% since 2018. This is the highest level recorded since these reports began. The social service workforce makes up approximately 7.8% of all Scottish employment.
  • This increase has been driven mainly by increases to the day care of children sub-sector and with public provision.
  • The whole time equivalent (WTE) measure of the workforce is 155,330, an increase of 1.3% since 2018.
  • The stability index of the workforce is 76.8%. This means just over three-quarters of the workforce remained in the same post since last year.
  • The largest employer type differs between local authority areas, with services in Orkney, Shetland and Na h-Eileanan Siar (the three island authorities) provided mainly by the public sector. However, in most areas the private sector is the largest employer.
  • The three largest sub-sectors are housing support/care at home, care homes for adults and day care of children; together these account for almost 78% of the workforce.
  • The median age of the workforce is highest in the public sector (47) and lowest in the private sector (41). Early years workers in the private sector have the lowest median age (28).
  • The percentage of men working in the sector is 15%, although it is around double or greater that proportion in criminal justice and residential children’s services.
  • The workforce is mainly employed on permanent contracts (82%).
  • The median figure for the typical weekly hours worked by staff is 32 and 51% of the workforce work full time (more than 30 hours per week).

The report combines administrative data collected by the Care Inspectorate with data collected by the SSSC directly from local authorities to form a comprehensive picture of the paid workforce employed in the social service sector in Scotland at the end of 2019. The SSSC is an official statistics provider.

Read the Scottish Social Service Sector: Report on 2019 Workforce Data here.

Contact information

Lorraine Wakefield
Communications Manager
Scottish Social Services Council