Despite the rising need for social workers, data from the Department of Education showed that social workers are quitting in record numbers, with 5,400 leaving the profession in 2022, a 9% rise on the previous year – the highest since 2017. It showed that vacancies were also at a record high of 7,900 (+21% over 2021).
Matrix’s own internal data correlates to this trend, highlighting a 87% rise in new placements created between 2015 and 2022 and an 84% increase in active placements since 2017.
Among its top 4 social care clients, Matrix data shows an average 179% increase in the number of social care roles available since 2020, with councils responding to the social care crisis by offering a significant 20% increase in pay rates to attract more candidates to the roles.
Although pay rises in the sector are welcomed the London Councils collaboration is aiming to end bidding wars over children’s social worker pay and are collaborating more than ever before to avoid the rising costs of expensive agency staff. Boroughs say their unprecedented level of collaboration is reducing competition between one another over children’s social care staff. With boroughs also working more closely with agency suppliers of social workers, children’s services departments report they have better control of costs, as well as upholding high standards through more information sharing on references and improving retention rates.
“With social care workers quitting in record numbers, it’s vital that employers are not just working to improve conditions but also the rates of pay to help close this gap and attract and retain more candidates to take up these vital roles. Our association with the London Pledge and other associated Memorandums across the UK is integral to keep the various customers talking so as not to hike up rates unnecessarily. ” says Julian Panter at Matrix.
In February this year, the government published a plan to overhaul the social care system – including “ambitious plans” to recruit up to 500 new child and family social worker apprentices and introduce more support and professional development for social workers in the first five years of their career.