Skip to main content

The report presents a review of disparities in pay and conditions across the social care workforce in Wales, examining implications for recruitment and retention of care workers.

This is a relatively small scale study. It is exploratory in nature, attempting to capture information across Wales and involving all social care sectors and the NHS.

Pay

There is variation in pay between the three social care sectors (i.e. local authorities, the independent sector and the third sector) and the NHS. Local authorities appear to pay more and offer favourable terms and conditions.

There is competition from employers outside the social care sectors (e.g. retail). These employers are considered to provide similar or better pay, with roles carrying less responsibility.

Social care has a low paid workforce that can result in care workers facing financial difficulties.

Contracts

There was minimal variation in the proportion of care workers employed on non-guaranteed working hour contracts across sectors (approximately one in five). The third sector was an exception, employing few people on such contracts (approximately one in 20).

Fewer than one in ten contracts offered to senior care workers and supervisors by local authority and independent sector employers were non-guaranteed/zero hours.

The research suggests there are advantages and disadvantages with the use of non-guaranteed working hours contracts.

Local authority providers employ roughly twice as many part-time permanent staff as full-time permanent staff. The independent sector, third sector and NHS employ roughly twice as many full-time permanent staff as they do part-time permanent staff.

Enhancements

The survey data provide examples of enhancements between and within local authority, independent and third sector social care employers. This is supported by evidence from the interviews and focus groups.

Basic pay is supplemented by more enhancements in the NHS and local authorities.

Training and development time was paid for or reimbursed by all local authority respondents regardless of worker type. The vast majority also reported doing so in the responding NHS LHBs/Trusts, third sector and independent sector employers.

Recruitment and retention

A range of issues contribute to difficulties recruiting and retaining employees, including pay, among social care employers.

Competition from similar jobs in the NHS was reported as impacting on recruitment in other sectors. Competition within and between social care employers and the NHS was thought to contribute to retention problems in the social care workforce.

The workforce is impacted by high turnover and vacancy rates, with difficulties in the recruitment and retention of care workers. Fewer difficulties were reported in relation to recruitment and retention of senior care workers and supervisors.

Difficulties in recruitment and retention were attributed to a number of other factors. These include:

  • competing roles outside of social care
  • perceived low status of social care as a valued career option
  • working hours
  • shift patterns

Reports

Review of evidence of variation in terms and conditions for social care employment contracts in Wales
, file type: PDF, file size: 5 MB

PDF
5 MB
If you need a more accessible version of this document please email digital@gov.wales. Please tell us the format you need. If you use assistive technology please tell us what this is.

Review of evidence of variation in terms and conditions for social care employment contracts in Wales: summary
, file type: PDF, file size: 934 KB

PDF
934 KB
If you need a more accessible version of this document please email digital@gov.wales. Please tell us the format you need. If you use assistive technology please tell us what this is.

Contact

Chris Roberts

Telephone: 0300 025 6543

Media

Telephone: 0300 025 8099

Share this page