More than 500,000 social care jobs in England will need to be filled by 2035, a new report has predicted.
Skills for Care’s annual report on the English care workforce has projected that it will need to grow by a third - amounting to 580,000 jobs - to keep pace with growing numbers of people aged over 65.
The research also found that, although the size of the workforce has grown over the past decade, the number of adult social care workers employed by councils has fallen.
Since 2009 the number of adult social care jobs has increased by 290,000 – just short of a quarter – reaching an estimated 1.62 million last year.
However, local authority jobs have decreased by 37% - or 65,000 jobs - shrinking from a 14% share of the workforce to 7%.
The report said that outsourcing, restructures, service closures, budget cuts and redundancies were among the reasons for the decrease in council jobs.
Independent sector jobs, covering commercial and not-for-profit employers, have increased by 30% since 2009, accounting for more than three-quarters of the sector last year.
If the adult social care workforce grows in proportion to the projected number of people aged 65 and over, the number of adult social care jobs will increase by 580,000 jobs to around 2.2 million by 2035.
Skills for Care interim chief executive officer, Andy Tilden, said: ‘The report shows the obvious contribution our growing workforce makes supporting people to live the lives they want, but also that our sector is now a key part of our national economy.
'As we estimate we will need to fill another 580,000 jobs by 2035 that contribution is only going to grow so we need to start thinking about how that is factored into economic planning - locally and nationally.’