SOCIAL care and support providers in Scotland are finding it hard to recruit and keep staff with many workers choosing to leave the sector, a report has suggested.

Research conducted by the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS), discovered an average of 52% of staff who moved jobs last year left social care. The report found almost three-quarters of organisations surveyed reported a high staff turnover between 2021 and 2022.

A total of 73% of organisations delivering social care said staff turnover had increased by 14% between 2020 and 2021. CCPS and the HR Voluntary Sector Forum (HRVSF) commissioned the University of Strathclyde to conduct the survey and analysis for member organisations.

Rachel Cackett, chief executive of CCPS, said: “The headline results of this survey are stark and confirm what our provider organisations have been telling us over the past year: retention and recruitment of staff are the dominant issues in a sector under intense pressure.

“It’s a situation that has only worsened since this data for 2022 was captured, as differences in pay between not-for-profit social care providers and the public sector have widened.

“This report points to an exit of staff across organisations, resulting in a loss of expertise, talent and a massive undermining of key services.

“It’s a loss that has an impact on achieving what we all want to see: people getting the support they need at the right times in the right places.”

She added: “This is the reason we’ve launched our 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign, which calls on the Scottish Government to take the measures long needed to deliver on investment and reform.

“We want to see social care organisations hold on to their workforce, to have the resources to develop their people – and for staff to finally be fairly rewarded for their public service.”

The study also found the average turnover across respondents was 25% – a 5.5% increase from 2020-2021.

Almost three in five (59%) of respondents said they are relying on agency staff in order to provide necessary care for clients.

This is an increase from 45% the previous year.

A total 81% of respondents reported their recruitment needs were higher than the previous year, up 6% from the 2020-2021 report.

Nearly half (46%) of respondents to the survey reported that they expect recruitment will continually become more difficult, with 54% projecting the same difficulty.

Kevin Staunton, HRVSF chair, said: “For years our sector has heard warm words about parity of esteem and being seen as an equal partner in the delivery of social care in Scotland.

“This report provides indisputable evidence that the reality our people experience is much different and the sector cannot continue to operate on the goodwill of our workforce.

“I hope that in a year’s time positive progress has been made.

“Our forum members welcome the opportunity to work positively with others to make this happen. The people we support and the people our organisations employ deserve better.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We know the sector faces challenges and are committed to working with partners to improve services.

“We remain committed to delivering a National Care Service to provide high quality care across the country and make sure staff feel valued.

“Over the last couple of years we have increased the pay for social care workers by more than 14%.

“We are looking at how we can plan for, attract, train, employ and nurture the workforce.

“We are continuing to work towards our commitment to increase social care spending by 25% by the end of this Parliament.”