NHS figures show that in the last two years two million hospital beds were unnecessarily occupied because of a shortage of social care to support patients ready to be discharged, according to management consultants.
PwC says the situation will get worse and the number of social care workers needed is likely to hit 290,000 by 2030.
The research showed that most care staff are happy in their work but problems include a lack of career progression.
It found that nearly two thirds of carers joined the sector for the opportunity to help people, and nearly a third of carers under 35 choose to gain recognised qualifications.
It said there are 2,800 unfilled care home manager jobs at any one time.
Andrew McKechnie, private health leader at PwC, said: 'With a growing population and people living longer, addressing the social care crisis has never been more critical and staffing is increasingly becoming one of the biggest obstacles facing the sector.
'Our research shows that carers love their job and find it hugely rewarding, but operators need to capture the positivity of current carers to not only retain but recruit for the future.'