Surrey is one of the most densely populated counties in Britain, with almost 1,100,000 residents. The main population centres are in the north of the county, within the M25 orbital motorway and at the larger towns of Guildford, Woking and Farnham. The county's workforce has increased by more than 15 per cent since 1981 with more than 80 per cent of residents in employment, significantly above the national average.
More than 500,000 Surrey residents are aged 50 or over. An ageing population brings higher demands for social care, particularly in home nursing and care of the elderly. . The major provider of adult and child care services is Surrey County Council, with other services provided by the county's private care providers, Other social care services such as children's and mental health care services that used to be provided by Surrey NHS Trust are now provided by six clinical commissioning groups: East Surrey, Guildford and Waverley Surrey Heath, Surrey Downs, North West Surrey, and North East Hampshire and Farnham.
Recruitment agencies report that the main skills shortages are in qualified social workers, mental health support workers and nurses and in care home staff and managers. There is also considerable demand for staff and support workers in learning and disability support roles.