Tackling the recruitment and retention crisis in adult social care

Tackling the recruitment and retention crisis in adult social care

While the covid pandemic provided a stark reminder of the valuable work performed by carers, recruiting and retaining staff in adult social care is increasingly challenging, with staff turnover rates of 35% across the sector.

The release of a ground-breaking research report by Surrey Care Association (SCA) and Campbell Tickell, highlights the need for improved pay and proper career pathways. This report is particularly timely, given the Government’s call for evidence to inform a new care workforce pathway for adult social care.

SCA, who represent and support over 230 providers of adult social care in Surrey, commissioned Campbell Tickell to conduct the research as part of The Workforce Structure Project. This was funded by Surrey County Council and supported by Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System.

Research outline

The research gathered in-depth feedback from over 100 people from 25 different organisations and connections to social care in Surrey. Research participants included: working age adults accessing care, their families, professional care workers, care service providers and those commissioning care services.

The research:

  • Provides a structured and evidence-based set of role descriptions for social care. The aim was to develop a set of evaluated and benchmarked role profiles that better reflect the changing role of care workers. This recognises the range of skills and competencies required of care workers and to provide an outline career pathway.
  • Recommends pay scales and appropriate terms and conditions. Salary benchmarking was undertaken as part of the research and identified that care roles in Surrey are undervalued by between 8% and 20%. For examples, on a 40-hour week, a Care Worker would earn £23,237, but comparable roles across a range of sectors with similar skill and experience requirements can earn £27,981 – a 20% pay gap.
  • Develops a job evaluation framework that could be used by SCA members to assess the relative value of different jobs in the workplace. A job evaluation enables a comparison of jobs to provide an objective ranking of posts, which can then be used to guide how salaries are set for different roles.


Commenting on the research, Maria Mills, Vice Chair of Surrey Care Association said:

“We hope that this research can be used to support a pathway to fairer rewards and a career structure for people working in social care in Surrey. This is essential to attract and keep care workers so that Surrey residents can have the quality, safe and reliable social care and support we want and need for ourselves and our loved ones.”

Liz Zacharias, Director at Campbell Tickell, said:

“Our research on defining a job evaluation scheme tailored to care worker roles, pay benchmarking against similar roles in other sectors, identified gaps in base pay range from 8% to 20%. We now have a robust evidence base that we hope commissioners and policy makers will use to ensure pay parity and career progressions for care”.

The results of the research were presented to SCA members at their spring conference on 10th May at which Mark Nuti, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health was the opening speaker.

Commenting on the research Mark said:

“We funded this research because we’re ambitious for social care in Surrey and want to play our part in building a system which fully recognises the skill and dedication of care workers who do so much every day for our loved ones. Armed with these important findings, we will work with government and our partners locally to push forward with the vision for a proper career path and pay for this crucial workforce which is at the heart of social care and makes everything in it possible.”

Find out more

For access to the full report please contact Surrey Care Association.

To learn more about Campbell Tickell’s work in Health, Care and Support, visit our service page, or contact CT Director, Liz Zacharias.

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