Survey results illustrate extent of current staff shortages in social services

In January, the Social Employers launched a survey among its network to better understand and map the current situation regarding staff shortages in social services across Europe.

Access the full survey results HERE.

The survey was answered by 47 employers’ organisations and social services providers from 20 EU countries, plus the United Kingdom and Norway.

85% of respondents report they currently face staff shortages. In addition, most respondents (83%) reported an increase or strong increase in staff shortages in their respective countries since 2021.

The sub-sectors most affected by staff shortages are services for older persons (94% of respondents report a rate of unfilled job positions of 1 to 10% or over 10%) followed by services for persons with disabilities (88%) and service for children (79%).  77% of respondents also indicated shortages for other social services, which include different kinds of services.

The job positions most affected by staff shortages are nurses (90% of respondents report shortages). Care assistants / homecare workers and social care workers also face important shortages. More than 80% of respondents report shortages for these professions.

The results also highlight some of the main causes for staff shortages; low wages being on top with 90% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing with the affirmation. Understaffing, the physical & mental exhaustion linked to the pandemic, the flexibility of working time and psychologically demanding working conditions are also important reasons for leaving or not entering the sector.

Many employees do not leave for a comparable position within the sector but choose to work in other sectors. According to over 50% of respondents, public social services and the healthcare sector also attract the social services workers.