This project is under way, and will run until July 2022.

  • Run by the University of Kent, in collaboration with Skills for Care, Cass Business School and University College London.
  • Will investigate the factors influencing low staff retention in UK social care.
  • Aims to improve understanding of specific organisational and individual drivers of care staff retention, and assess the destination choices of staff who leave.
  • Will develop examples of good working conditions to support the development of a sustainable social care workforce.

Staff turnover and job vacancy rates are persistently high in UK social care. Understanding the drivers of staff retention and motivators of care staff is important to enable the sector to provide sustainable, high-quality services and meet increasing demand.

This project run by the University of Kent aims to help social care providers, commissioners, regulators and policy-makers understand the specific organisational and individual drivers of staff retention in the social care sector.

The main objectives are to compare social care with other low-wage service industries in terms of staff characteristics, job commitment and retention; investigate why staff leave social care jobs, as well as the destination choices of staff who leave; and define good working conditions in social care.

There will be four detailed work packages employing a range of research techniques, including a literature review, econometric analysis and exploration of data from the National Minimum Dataset for Social Care, the Skills for Care Survey of Individual Employers and Personal Assistants, the UK Quarterly Labour Force Survey, the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, and the Employer Skills Survey.

There will be a series of workshops, focus groups and consultation events with key stakeholders. These will help refine the research questions and methods to generate evidence aligned with the sectors’ and users’ priorities. The results of the project will be used to assess and develop examples of ‘quality jobs’ in the social care industry, and pathways to achieve these nationally.

Contact details

For more information about this project, please contact:

  • Dr Florin Vadean, Research Fellow, Personal Social Services Research Unit, University of Kent, Canterbury
  • Professor Shereen Hussein, Associate Director, Personal Social Services Research Unit, University of Kent, Canterbury

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