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Why do people think some professional jobs like teachers/ midwives aren't paid well?

(424 Posts)
Rollovers Mon 22-Apr-19 08:52:33

I read a lot on here about people moaning about teacher/ nurse/ midwife wages etc. I thought in the NHS you start off on around 25k which I think is a decent wage. I've seen on MN alot of nurses and midwives earning £30/40k upwards.

I genuinely am wondering why people think that's low pay? What would they want as a reasonable salary? Am I not understanding something. This is a genuine question and I am in no way being goady.

I earn very low @17k so perhaps my perception is slightly skewed.

Farontothemaddingcrowd Mon 22-Apr-19 08:55:33

I have no idea. I am a teacher with a middle management teaching and learning responsibility and I earn just over 43 K. Not a fortune, but with my similarly earning dp I have a very comfortable life.

ViolentGin Mon 22-Apr-19 08:56:41

Because they are public sector jobs where the private sector equivalent pays significantly more.

Of course it will seem a lot based on a 17k salary. But the skills required, hours worked and level of responsibility would be higher than that of a person on a 17k salary, generally speaking.

PirateWeasel Mon 22-Apr-19 08:59:34

I think it depends on what you're used to. I didn't see £25k until I was over 30, and I'm in an industry that requires a degree. Anything over £35k sounds like a fortune to me, but it's probably peanuts to someone in finance!

PoliticalBiscuit Mon 22-Apr-19 08:59:41

But it is low pay.

The level of intelligence, qualifications, training needed for something like midwifery, nursing and teaching. For nursing the shifts are a killer. Regular 12 hour shifts working with people on the brink of life or death and being held to account if you accidentally poke a needle in 3mm too far? Or forgot to give a dose of medication when every patient might have 3 different types they need every 4 hours?

And there are more qualified teachers who are not teaching compared to those who are? That number is astonishing. All the good money, reasonable hours and holidays - and people who genuinely wanted to train, learn and teach NOT teaching is a better indicator of how the job completely stinks. I'm sure if it paid £50k more people would keep doing it as the horror of not keeping your income up would be a barrier to leaving.

Rollovers Mon 22-Apr-19 09:00:27

So if you were a teacher in a private school you would be earning a lot more or a nurse in a private hospital?

borntobequiet Mon 22-Apr-19 09:00:29

Teachers start off on just under £23000, which is pretty much the (median) average starting salary for graduates. However the average for graduates in “high flying” sectors is nearer £30000. Pretty much the same entry requirements though, good degree and so on.

IheartNiles Mon 22-Apr-19 09:00:52

They’re low paid when compared with other professions with similar educational and training demands and responsibilities. We need to attract the best into these important roles, we’re not doing that (tens of thousands of unfilled vacancies) and uncompetitive pay is one of the barriers. With austerity these groups have also have frozen pay for 8+ years.

clary Mon 22-Apr-19 09:01:23

I taught for seven years and at the end of that time (a year ago) my salary was just over £25,000 so hardly big bucks for someone with a degree, post graduate qualification and seven years' experience.

My pay stayed roughly the same because my year 11 students didn't hit their unreasonable targets. I also didn't have any kind of TLR (eg head of key stage etc).

Add to that the very long hours and pressure and frankly I was ready to stop!

starzig Mon 22-Apr-19 09:01:39

I am in a skilled degree level science job and get 28k with 20yr experience so on average a bit lower than a nurse. Both working towards curing illness. But the difference is that you see the nurse, you dont see me. The guys that come in to do the drug testing in the middle of the night get paid far less than nurses. I am also private sector. It is a complete myth that private sector are well paid.

boredboredboredboredbored Mon 22-Apr-19 09:01:57

I am a senior nurse and earn around 46k per year. I have a diploma and a degree and have been nursing for 21 years. Newly qualified nurses start on £22k. Mine is a good salary but it has taken many years to get there. My pension takes 10% of that so quite high (not moaning as I know I have a good one). As a single Mum to 2 teenage dc it does not seem to stretch that far plus my pension is 10%.

ShirazSavedMySanity Mon 22-Apr-19 09:02:20

Teacher here. £24k almost.
Bear in mind I’m an NQT and work up to 60 hours a week, I’d say the pay is definitely not good.

Decormad38 Mon 22-Apr-19 09:03:15

Im a nurse now on a salary of 42k but that’s a lifetime of work. If I was in a private company I would have been earning that by 28 probably!

borntobequiet Mon 22-Apr-19 09:03:39

Example: my DD would be an excellent teacher and has all the requisite qualifications (STEM) and personal qualities. She won’t go near it - pay and conditions put her off.

Shadowboy Mon 22-Apr-19 09:04:36

Because if the training, hours and responsibilities for the role. Plus to get to that 40k that most never reach, you’ve probably had to work that job for 12-15 years.

So teaching for example takes 4 years training (degree plus PGCE) for which I accrued £18k of debt which I pay off at approx £170 per month and I still owe 11k 12 years since I started working....
I only hit £40k this year. This is my 12th year. But to earn this £40k the workload is excessive.
I used to be a supervisor at Laura Ashley. I earned £19k per year. It requires no degree, very little training, and when I locked the door at 5.30pm I was done for the day. Great job - I did it for 4 years but I felt the money wasn’t enough, when I started teaching 12 years ago I started in £21k so not much more than the £19k role. I would say now I’m on £40 it’s a reasonable wage but not a fair wage for the work/hours.

Oakmaiden Mon 22-Apr-19 09:04:37

In order to be a teacher I had to take a degree and then a post graduate qualification. I recently decided to specialise as a computer science teacher, and went back to university to take a Masters in Computer Science.

Now, I don't think teachers are badly paid, but even with going back into school my absolute intention when I started my course, I am sitting looking at jobs and wondering if I really want to go back into education when I could earn so much more as a programmer or software developer.

It is a problem.

scaredofthecity Mon 22-Apr-19 09:06:40

I'm a nurse, top of my grade and earn about 30k. I don't think it's great for my level of skills and experience. Promotion opportunities are rare.

We have a huge amount of responsibility and accountability. One tiny mistake or simply a bad day can end your career. This is very stressful.

I don't think we're badly paid, but I don't think it's great either. I think I would be much happier if I was paid at the grade I'm working to, rather than the one that's on my contract.

Aragog Mon 22-Apr-19 09:07:56

For some of these jobs it is the comparison to other professions with a similar level of qualifications required and similar lengths of training.

Dh and I went to school together for A levels.
We got similar results and went to similar university types. I did education and dh did law. It took the same length of time to qualify and we got the same degree result.

On our first years of work we were in similar salaries. Infact mine was slightly higher.

However within about 3 years dh was earning significantly higher amounts, for similar hours worked and in the same city.

Now, many years later : dh is in an incredibly high wage. If I'd remained teaching - I still teach in a school but for various reasons chose to not actually be a teacher after a few years - in the same way I'd still be on a fraction of dh's wage.

I know many people earn far less than teachers but many of those jobs are not ones which require A levels, a degree, a post grad qualification and a years on the job training to start.

You do have to compare like with like.

mizu Mon 22-Apr-19 09:08:38

Teachers in FE ARE low paid. I manage a language department in a college and teach full time. £27,000 a year plus £1,500 a year for the leader role. So £29,500. I've been teaching for 23 years. Love the job but people leave as they can't afford to work there.

Nnnnnineteen Mon 22-Apr-19 09:08:54

It's not a dreadful salary by any means, though doesn't stretch very far as a single parent in London.
I chose to be a teacher though, more fool me. I'd be gutted if my dc did, fucking shit job.

LloydColeandtheCoconuts Mon 22-Apr-19 09:09:43

I'm a teacher on around £44K and my DP, also a teacher, on a bit more. Although we are on a good salary, we live in SE London and can not afford to buy a house another thread, I know.

spagbowlexplosion Mon 22-Apr-19 09:10:36

I think it’s a tough one. I know lots of people working 50+ hours a week, earning under £20k with standard 20 days holiday. But teachers I think have always been known as ‘moaning about the job’ I don’t doubt it’s a tough job but all the teachers I speak to, seem to think they’re the only ones that work long hours and aren’t millionaires. Maybe it’s because they ‘expected’ 9-3?
I’m in the private sector, deal with billions of pounds a day and don’t make more than an average teacher/nurse so I think the public sector get paid more thing is a bit of a myth.
Most people work long hours for not much pay these days, you just hear about it more from teachers and nurses because it’s a well recognised profession that falls into that category as opposed to say, front line council staff - who will be working 40 hours, 47 weeks p/y for around £17k.

EleanorLavish Mon 22-Apr-19 09:12:14

Nurses work 37.5 hrs a week full time.
12 hr shifts were brought in as that's what nurses said they wanted. Personally I'd prefer the 12 hr shifts, as you often get an extra day off.
Working 7/8/9/10 day stretches isn't so good though.
I think nurses/midwives have incredible responsibility that isn't reflected in the wages.

99calmbeforethestorm Mon 22-Apr-19 09:13:20

As an NQT I worked out I was working for less per hour than minimum wage.

magicalleeks Mon 22-Apr-19 09:17:35

Scottish teachers have just won a 13% pay rise. Teachers’ salaries had fallen by 24% in real terms since 2008.

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