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News Release


Staffing crisis looms in social care sector


Property consultant JLL has calculated that over 1.22 million more staff will be needed in the UK’s social care sector over the next 20 years to cope with the rising numbers of those aged 85 , whilst the working age population  is set to increase by only 1.39 million.  JLL’s research paper entitled, The Social Care Deficit: All Our Futures forecasts  that the ability to staff the social care sector will become increasingly challenging as the UK sees unprecedented rises in the need for long-term care.

Over the next ten years, 485,000 more staff will be required in the social care sector, with a further 737,000 in the following decade, a combined 1.22 million. During this period, the UK’s workforce will increase by only 1.39 million and this implies the social care sector would need over 88% of this supply to meet its own needs.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 You & Yours, Ollie Saunders, lead director, JLL Alternatives, said: “The UK is woefully unprepared to meet the challenges presented by its growing aging population and staffing is clearly an issue that needs addressing. The problem is simply not going to disappear.”

JLL’s Ollie Saunders continued: “Our analysis paints a stark picture and highlights the risk of a two tier care home market with much needed investment only focused on areas of affluence and with a sustainable workforce.  The sector needs to provide a wider range of elderly care options, such as less staff intensive retirement housing, but also deliver more support for the growing network of informal carers who provide care at home.”

By 2036 the number of people aged over 85 will more than double to 3.2 million. As a result, JLL predicts demand for care home beds alone to grow by 77% to 806,000 by 2036, from 456,000 today. In order to satisfy this growth in supply, £47 billion of new investment would be required just in care homes and nearly half of all the new staff needed will be required in these settings.

Eamonn Meadows, associate director, JLL Alternatives, added: “The geographical distribution of the potential social care workforce will be markedly unequal. Whilst London and the South East will be more secure for both investment and staffing, parts of Wales and Scotland could be facing serious labour shortages in the absence of internal or external migration.”

The private sector currently accounts for about 80% of all investment into social care real estate and is expected to play a prominent role in the development of new, and replacement, care homes and retirement housing. Investors will place greater scrutiny on the attendant commercial risks such as staffing before committing funds to new developments and there is a risk that a two-tier market becomes entrenched across the UK.