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Low pay is biggest barrier to finding and keeping care staff, survey finds

Four in five employers in the social care sector admit that low pay is the biggest obstacle to filling the sector’s 110,000 vacancies, a survey has found, as ministers launch a national recruitment campaign for care workers.

The survey also shows a huge rise in the proportion of employers citing the bill for calling in agency staff to cover vacancies as one of their main cost pressures, up from 13% to 63% in just 12 months.

The long-awaited recruitment campaign, due to run until the end of March, is an attempt to bring down social care’s persistently high vacancy rate of 8%. With a campaign slogan of “Every day is different”, it aims to promote the non-pay rewards of care work, such as its variety, personal fulfilment and opportunities for career progression.

But the survey of 56 employer organisations by consultancy CEBR for care charity HFT shows that low pay is seen as by far the biggest problem when it comes to attracting new workers and keeping existing ones.

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