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Society, Health and Development

The Job Market

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Children and young people's services

Most teachers are employed by local authorities to work in state-maintained nursery, primary, secondary (grammar or comprehensive), special needs, community and foundation schools.

In 2009, there were 465,672 teachers in service. Teaching is an increasingly popular career choice. However, there is still a demand for more people to train as maths, science, modern languages, English, religious education (RE), music, ICT and design technology teachers.

Teaching assistants work throughout the UK, in nursery and primary education, special schools and mainstream secondary schools. Jobs are available in both state schools and in private schools. Teaching assistants are employed directly by schools or by local education authorities (LEAs).

Nursery workers are employed in day nurseries and children's centres, in both the public and private sectors. There are well over 200,000 nursery workers in the UK and numbers are increasing. Early Years practitioners or nursery nurses, who are qualified to work unsupervised, can also work in nursery schools or in private households as nannies.

Playworkers are employed by local authorities, voluntary and charitable organisations, private companies offering out-of-school childcare, hospitals and health services, adventure playgrounds, play and children's centres and holiday play schemes.  

Youth and Community workers are employed by local authorities, the Connexions service, youth offending teams, voluntary organisations, faith groups and schools.

Youth work skills are in demand and opportunities are increasing. There is a particular demand for ethnic minority youth workers and male youth workers in some areas.

The Connexions Service is delivered by the 150 local authority areas as part of their services for children and young people. Some Connexions Personal Advisers are employed directly by local authorities, while others are employed by contracted organisations. There is general demand for experienced Personal Advisers, although there may be competition for trainee posts.

Community Justice

Community Safety Officers are mainly employed by local authorities. Other employers of community safety officers include agencies linked to local councils, health and criminal justice teams and charities, such as Crime Concern. The number of community safety officers employed by local authorities has remained stable in recent years, while there has been an increase in those employed by agencies.

Police Community Support Officers are employed by each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales and by the British Transport Police. There are around 16,000 PCSOs, working in all areas of the country.

Probation officers and probation service officers are employed by the National Probation Service which works with the prison service, as part of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). Overall, the National Probation Service employs around 21,000 staff, approximately 6,300 as PSOs. Recent changes in the Probation Service means the demand for PSOs is likely to increase.


A total of around 2,879,000 people work in healthcare, with jobs available throughout the UK. The National Health Service (NHS) is the largest single employer and has over 300 different career areas. 

Other healthcare employers include private, charitable and voluntary organisations, local authorities, the Armed Forces and the prison service. There is a shortage of workers in some parts of the NHS.

Doctors and nurses

The NHS employs around 90,000 hospital doctors and over 33,000 GPs in England. Some doctors combine NHS work with private practice. The number of doctors has increased steadily over the past few years, but there is still a shortage.

Nursing is the largest occupational group, making up around 22 per cent of the industry's total employment and 30 per cent of the NHS workforce. The NHS employs around 400,000 qualified nursing staff in England and for every 1,000 nurses there are 228 doctors.


There are over 40,000 chartered physiotherapists working in the UK. Around 60 per cent of them work in the NHS. They are also employed by private practices, residential homes, special schools, sports centres and clinics.


There are currently over 13,000 paramedics registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC). Most paramedics work for ambulance service trusts in the National Health Service (NHS).  Some are employed by the armed forces, private hospitals, private ambulance services, private paramedic agencies, and a few major industries.


There are 25,523 registered radiographers in the UK, with diagnostic radiographers outnumbering therapeutic radiographers by around ten to one. Most work for NHS Trusts in hospitals, clinics and radiotherapy or oncology centres. Others work in private hospitals and the Armed Forces. Currently there is a shortage of therapeutic radiographers.

Social Care

More than 60 per cent of the social care workforce works with older people.

Social Work

There are over 100,000 registered social workers in the UK. There is currently a shortage of qualified social workers.

Employers include local authority social services, adult care and children's services departments, private organisations including residential homes, charities such as the NSPCC and Barnardo's, Armed Forces support organisations and hospitals, health trusts and GP practices.

Social Care Workers

Social care workers are employed by local authority social service departments, by the NHS in healthcare roles, and by voluntary and private organisations including independent care homes. Some social care workers are self-employed or may work through agencies.

The shift towards providing support within the community means opportunities are growing.