Care workforce in Scotland grows to over 211,000

Maree Allison

Scotland’s care workforce grew by 1.5% to 211,510 in 2022, up from 208,360 the year previous, data have revealed.

Published by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), numbers show the workforce makes up 7.8% of all employment in the country or one in 13 jobs. The workforce grew by 11.5% from 2013 when it reached 189,670.

Its report, Scottish Social Service Sector: Report on 2022 Workforce Data, found the biggest workforce increases were in housing support/care at home, day care of children services and nurse agencies. SSSC said this reflected a move towards more care being provided in people’s own homes and the expansion of free early learning and childcare.

Just over three-quarters of the workforce remained in the same post from the previous year, while the median age was highest in the public sector (46) and lowest in the private (40). Staff working in early years services in the private sector have the lowest median age (28).

The percentage of men working in the sector was 15%. However, it is around double or greater than that proportion in criminal justice social work and residential children’s services. The workforce is mainly employed on permanent contracts (83%).

‘As Scotland’s social work, social care and children and young people workforce continues to grow it’s a good time to recognise the valuable contribution they make helping people live the lives they want but also their contribution to the economy,’ said SSSC acting chief executive Maree Allison.

‘Representing one in 13 of all Scottish jobs there are lots and varied job roles available working with children, young people, adults and older people and we are working with Scottish government and other key partners to promote care as a career of choice.

‘Scotland’s ageing population means the workforce will need to continue to grow to meet increasing demand for services and our work supports workforce planning to meet that growing demand.’

Data released on the workforce came as First Minister Humza Yousaf pledged private and voluntary sector staff working in adult social care, children’s services and those who deliver funded early learning and childcare will receive at least £12 an hour.

The uplift will mean a rise of more than £2,000 a year for some staff in April 2024. The £12 minimum pay rate represents an increase of 10.1% from the £10.90 that was introduced in April 2023.