New analysis has shown that half of all registered managers in the adult social care sector are aged over 50, which could see 10,000 retire within the next 15 years.
The analysis – based on the national minimum data set for social care in England – found that in nursing homes, the figure increased to 60%.
“Registered managers are absolutely vital for the delivery of good quality care”
In addition, turnover rates for manages in nursing homes is around 33%, and those in care homes is 22%, according to data from the regulator the Care Quality Commission.
Meanwhile, the average vacancy rate – or proportion of empty manager posts – is 16% for nursing homes and 11% for care homes, according to the briefing by Skills for Care, which oversees the data collection.
Across all of the adult social care sector manager vacancy rates are on average 12%.
“This important new data illustrates a major challenge faced by the care sector”
The findings were described as “worrying” by Des Kelly, executive director of the National Care Forum, which represents independent care providers, who suggested they indicated a “crisis” in the sector.
He noted that the data showed the average salary for a registered manager was £27,700 but that for different settings this varied from £25,200 in domiciliary care to £33,700 for nursing homes.
“These factors reinforce the view that there is considerable competition for registered managers and they are difficult to replace when they leave,” he said.
However, the briefing did highlight that adult social care sector managers tended to have good levels of experience.
It showed that 64% of registered managers had been in their current role for three years or more, with 44% having been in their role for more than seven years.
Managers in care homes without nursing had on average been in their current role for longer than their counterparts in other services.
“Those working in care homes with nursing tend to have the greatest levels of experience which may suggest more of a career progression in these settings, such as from nurse to manager,” the briefing added.
“Whichever way this important new data is interpreted, it illustrates a major challenge faced by the care sector,” said Mr Kelly in an online post.
“Registered managers are absolutely vital for the delivery of good quality care and yet at any one time one in eight services will have a vacancy at this level, one in four managers leave each year and close to 50% are within 10 years of retirement age! Surely, this has to constitute a crisis?,” he said.