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to think that jobs within the caring profession are ridiculously low paid??

(53 Posts)
whattimestea Sun 28-Apr-13 20:45:20

I have been a SAHM for a couple of years now but my family's circumstances have changed meaning that i'm now back actively looking for work.

I've signed up to a few online job search engine type things and every day I get alerts to new jobs which have been posted onto it. I look at the jobs whether they match my skills and experience or not - out of curiosity if anything. I've looked at a couple of jobs which have been advertised. Both in the caring sector. Now, i'm not trained in anything remotely health or care orientated whatsoever. I've never had any experience of nursing/residential homes in my personal life either. But I don't feel I need to have to be under the impression that it would be very demanding both physically, mentally and/or emotionally. Also you would feel a great deal of responsibility and duty as you are being entrusted with looking after the well-being of another human. Someone's mum or dad, son or daughter for example. Their quality of life is in your hands so to speak??

The jobs which were advertised were in a childrens home and a nursing home. Both vacancies specified that they wanted experienced people for the role - the latter wished for at least 5 years experience plus for it to be in a specialised area (in this case dementia and elderly care). In the case of the childrens home they were offering a zero hour contract stating that you needed to be available as and when and also be willing to work in whichever place needed you throughout quite a wide area. For this they were paying £6-50 per hour. The elderly care job was shift work and also specified that NVQ level 3 was essential. It was a senior carers role and the successful applicant would be the lead carer of the team. They were paying £7 an hour!!

Like I said my knowledge of the ins and outs of such jobs is non-existent so maybe IABU? Is this really representative of how jobs within this field pay their staff??

Snazzynewyear Sun 28-Apr-13 20:47:24

YANBU. It is shocking and shows how such work is thought of. It's taken for granted that those least able to be picky will take these jobs up and just accept crumbs.

Snazzynewyear Sun 28-Apr-13 20:50:12

Also, and slightly off topic, from my experience the job market is so bad atm that recruitment has become very choosy and in particular conservative about past experience in the same field. So jobs are being advertised asking for 5 years' experience in the field when that's not really necessary - not saying that's necessarily true of care work, but it's been my general observation lately.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sun 28-Apr-13 20:50:29

yanbu. It is no wonder that so many care homes are less than great.

whattimestea Sun 28-Apr-13 20:53:48

The thing is though not everybody can do these kinds of jobs. They aren't asking for desperate people who'd do anything. They want experienced and qualified individuals. I mean I could walk into a supermarket tomorrow and get a job on a checkout (fat chance but you know what I mean!!) I don't need any qualifications for this, would have reasonably sociable hours, probably a staff discount as a perk and it's hardly the most taxing job in the world. I'd be on about the same - if not more - than these care home jobs are offering. And for their measly offerings as a wage they are expecting a hell of a lot in return.

Bunraku Sun 28-Apr-13 21:01:51

Domiciliary care is even worse. When I used to work in care it was costing me more in fuel than I was earning and I had to quit due to the way they ripped me off.

No mileage was given for the first or last call of the day so naturally they put the furthest visits there for me.

Sirzy Sun 28-Apr-13 21:03:30

YANBU. People expect high quality care (and rightly so) yet we only pay the Carers mimimum wage - hardly the way to encourage the right people into the job.

HopingItllBeOK Sun 28-Apr-13 21:03:50

They are, and it is a travesty. As a general rule, two types of people work in care homes; those for who it is a vocation and do it because they care and those who are on their arse financially and can't get anything else. Both types are taken advantage of by the low wage.

I worked in care homes for years, specifically homes for adults with learning difficulties but I also did agency work in all other types of homes depending on who needed shifts covering. I've seen the books for some of the LD homes I worked in. I attended benefits tribunals with my service users so knew exactly how much was paid for their care. I have the ability to do simple maths and factor that up to the 40 service users living in the home. I know how to do a food shop and therefore how much value bread, sandwich meats and the like cost. I know that my minimum wage was the same as other staff's wage so I can work out how much went into the home per week and how much was paid out. there is a fuck tonne of profit to be made and it is at the expense of the service users and those who care for them for whatever reason they got into it.

It is fucking appalling to be perfectly honest. I have worked in homes where the owner swans in 3 times a year to 'check things over' and show off their new threads that they got cheap on their last jaunt to America, while I get a snooty reprimand foe using more than one piece of value chicken sandwich meat per sandwich.

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Sun 28-Apr-13 21:09:49

YANBU. Dp works in elderly care, everyone wants Rolls Royce care standards (quite rightly), constant training to keep abreast of changes in legislation,constant danger of assault (dementia sufferers), all for a bit less than £7 per hour. shock

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Sun 28-Apr-13 21:13:37

And another thing............despite, or perhaps because of, these pathetic wages, every care home owner she has worked for has at least one foreign home,usually furnished with stuff "put through the homes books".

whattimestea Sun 28-Apr-13 21:21:37

HopingItllBeOK The amount of money that permanent residential care costs people is huge. Why then is it that the staff in these homes are paid peanuts?? That's the answer then - massive profits for the owners of these places. Disgraceful.

dontmeanto Sun 28-Apr-13 21:41:58

I've worked with both dementia patients and in end of life care. I've held people's hands as they've died, either because they have no one else or no one cares.

I've been hit in the stomach while pregnant (dementia), kicked, pushed, punched, and bitten. (Gummed!) Because they are frightened, and I have to gently reassure and persuade and smile and reassure some more.

I've exposed myself to MRSA, C-Diff, Norovirus, infected wounds, blisters, been spat on, vomited on, etc etc etc., but still I've cleaned up and redressed, wrapped up warm and covered a patient over with a blanket, so that they feel warm and comfortable, and safe.

I've been shouted at by relatives who don't know how to deal their own feelings at losing a loved one, or sometimes their own guilt. I've listened to the same story a thousand times by a WWII veteran and feign surprise and wonder as though its my first time.

I hold, soothe, feed, bathe, listen, entertain, and comfort.

I don't do any of this for the pay, but yeah, its pretty depressing how lowly I'm treated.

CloudsAndTrees Sun 28-Apr-13 21:45:35


There are many skills needed to work as a carer, and it is disgusting how little value is placed on such an essential role. It really properly boils my piss.

hopipolla Sun 28-Apr-13 21:47:31

YABU its simple supply and demand, the work is not highly skilled so a lot of people are capable of doing it meaning that wages are always going to be low.

dontmeanto Sun 28-Apr-13 21:54:34

I should be considered highly skilled though, Hopi. It's essentially keeping people alive, or comfortable and pain-free until they die.

elliejjtiny Sun 28-Apr-13 21:54:57

Yanbu. It's like this in nurseries too. I'm a SAHM at the moment but when I worked we were all encouraged to have degrees, years of experience and work 45 hours a week plus unpaid overtime for minimum wage. DH is a manager and frequently works evenings and weekends unpaid with wages not much better than the nursery nurses.

dontmeanto Sun 28-Apr-13 21:55:46

It* should be, I mean!

whattimestea Sun 28-Apr-13 21:58:30

Look at the post by dontmeantto. The qualities and skills described there are worth more than £7 an hour. Whilst I agree that anyone is capable of doing it that does just mean that so long as you are a fit and fully functioning adult it is within your capabilities. IMO that's a world away from being right and 'able' for the job. The rate of pay needs to reflect that.

Charliefox Sun 28-Apr-13 22:00:23

Dontmeanto - you are a wonderful human being and I'm so sorry that you are not financially recognised as you should be. My parents have carers and they are all fantastic. They work so hard and bring a moment of relief/humour/kindness to a terrible day and there isn't enough money in the world to pay them what they actually deserve.

picnicbasketcase Sun 28-Apr-13 22:04:47

What charliefox said. Care/support workers do an incredible job and are underpaid and undervalued, and it's simply not right.

LeChatRouge Sun 28-Apr-13 22:23:08

I think everyone who has had either personal or anecdotal experience would agree.
My question is, what can be done about this? How can this incredible job be properly recognised and rewarded?

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sun 28-Apr-13 22:26:52

Yes it's appalling... its a low status profession which says alot about how we think of the most vulnerable people in society and who should be looking after them

I am disabled and have continuing awful problems trying to find anyone good in spite of paying alot more than average (not into slave labour me!). But nearly everyone I ever interview is just awful, unkind, rude, untrustworthy... Basically the opposite of what a carer should be! It's because it's such a low status job that people that can't get a job doing anything else can do this. piles of those kind of people and can't find the amazing proper carers who are out there somewhere.

I've been sworn at, shouted out, humiliated naked, stolen from and alot of other things. That's what you get if you create a 'caring profession' with no money, career development, stability or prestige.

I find it very upsetting on many levels! For the good carers out there who are not rewarded enough, for the people who get ill treated at the hand of 'carers',

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Sun 28-Apr-13 22:34:32

" That's what you get if you create a 'caring profession' with no money, career development, stability or prestige. "


DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sun 28-Apr-13 22:38:48

LeChatRouge it would have to come from government level I think... Alot of the shite conditions are driven by councils who drive down their agency contracts to the cheapest most immoral agencies. They don't care about quality of care or worker conditions. Then other agencies have to compete ...

My council chose a cheaper agency in the full knowledge that the savings meant no carer would be paid above minimum wage, and would be paid per minute (v bad practise). They just don't care. I have a certain number of hours a week, which they admit are not enough but advised me to pay someone less, make them work 14 hr days etc... Err thanks for that. They also tried to force me to have a live in carer even though that doesn't meet my needs, as the rules about live in carers allow them to pay even less and they only get half a day off every two weeks. Ffs.

OR an agency needs to be set up which works better though obviously would cost more. Few people are in a position to pay more, so it would be niche. I pay more as I just cannot accept the standard of care offered and in order to ask for better I feel I need to treat people better too.

wonderstuff Sun 28-Apr-13 22:50:35

There was another thread today about unprofessional behaviour, scores of stories about people in caring professions, it struck me that actually few people are able to treat very vulnerable people with dignity. By offering contracts to the lowest bidder technically able we have allowed many many people to be poorly treated. I can begin to understand the Staffordshire thing in that context. I can't see things improving with the current gov.

We need to seek only those who are able to genuinely care, if we do that, value that talent, I suspect wages would have to rise?

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