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08 Dec 2020

Workforce data Employers Careers in care

Staff vacancies in care services 2019

The Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) have today published new figures on the levels of staff vacancies in Scotland’s social care services.

The Staff vacancies in care services 2019 report provides a national overview of vacancy levels reported by care services registered with the Care Inspectorate. It also includes data on the actual number of vacancies services have, which is held by the SSSC. 

The data in the report reflects the situation in care services (1 January 2019 – 31 December 2019) before the COVID-19 pandemic and before the first case had been identified in the UK.

In the past year, 39% of services reported having vacancies, which is up one percentage point from the previous year.

However, care homes for adults, care homes for older people, care homes for children and young people, housing support services, care at home services, and residential special schools all had a proportion of services with vacancies significantly above the national average for all care services.

Daycare of children services were significantly below the national average for all care services reporting vacancies.

At 31 December 2019, the rate of whole time equivalent (WTE) vacancies for all services in Scotland was 6.2%, up from 5.5% in 2018.

At 31 December 2019, 49% of services with vacancies reported having problems filling them; up two percentage points from the previous year.

Lorraine Gray, Chief Executive of the SSSC said:

'The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the vital work that social care staff do in looking after some of the most vulnerable people in society. This vacancies report is on the situation in 2019 but it is timely as it shows there are opportunities for careers in care.

'Many social service workers have gone above and beyond during the pandemic, demonstrating the skills, knowledge, values and compassion necessary to work in care as part of a professional workforce.

'Hearing about the difference they’ve made to the people they support, who in many cases won’t have been able to see their friends and families as usual, during this extremely difficult time demonstrates just how rewarding a career in care can be and I hope will attract more people to work in the sector.

'There are lots of different roles available with training and the opportunity to gain qualifications, the workforce is growing and it really is life changing work.'

Peter Macleod, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said:

'The current challenges of delivering care during the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the value and importance of the social care workforce. They have played an essential role in delivering the best care possible to those who need it most and their compassionate person-centred approach has proven vital.

'The staff vacancies report provides a national overview of the vacancy levels and recruitment difficulties reported by care services. The report highlights that, in some areas, recruitment and retention in the social care sector remains a challenge.

'It is important to state that the data provided in the report should be considered alongside recognising that the skills, experiences, and values of social care staff are just as critical as the right number of staff being employed.'

Every care service is asked to complete an annual return every year to provide statistical and other information. The vacancy questions are asked for every care service type apart from childminders, who are typically sole providers.

Read the Staff vacancies in care services 2019 report here.

Contact information

Sandra Wilson
Communications Officer
Scottish Social Services Council