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To not agree that anyone can do lower paid jobs and top jobs have to pay well as few people can do them?

206 replies

CheekboneMagazine · 07/02/2024 00:45

Following on from the 6 figure thread and a comment about justifying these wages.
I get annoyed by hearing this over and over.
I'm a social worker on 28K. I don't think everyone could do my job. Or do it well. Today my day has consisted of getting a small child to trust me enough in a half hour visit in order to talk to me about their feelings, speaking to an unaccompanied asylum seeker about benefits with no translator available, writing a report for court, being sworn at repeatedly by a teenager who was under the influence and chairing a multidisciplinary meeting with police, school, local authorities, NHS etc. I have to be able to talk to parents about their drug screening results without them feeling judged and disengaging, yet be able to turn around and hold my own with solicitors and judges.
I have to be relatable to people who are in the midst of a mental health crisis or addiction, but also professional and articulate. I have to be flexible and adapt to the many urgent referrals which come in but I cannot let any of my regular contact or statutory visits breach timeframes.

I'm certain that not people many could be teachers or nurses or air hostesses either. I'm certain I would make a terrible barista or bank clerk! Many doctors I know say that they wouldn't have the skills to be their own secretaries or P.A's.

These jobs are not poorly paid because they are unskilled or because anyone could do them. They are poorly paid because they are traditionally done by women and/or because they don't make anyone else substantially richer. In fact I really struggle to think of a female dominated profession which pays well. Maybe accountancy?

OP posts:
MiaGee · 07/02/2024 00:48

You are seriously underpaid for what you have just described. I am a female accountant on double that. Don't get me wrong my days can be tough and long, and complex. But you are definitely way underpaid.

Danikm151 · 07/02/2024 00:49

Accounting doesn’t pay that well either!

I totally agree. There are higher ups who have their PA’s doing all the scheduling work and they’re paid a tenth of their bosses wage.

carers are paid a pittance but not everyone has the skills to care. Or childcare

Dealing with the public is a thankless task but the pay is crap!

CheekboneMagazine · 07/02/2024 00:49

@MiaGee but who's going to shell out to pay local authority staff more?

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Boomboom22 · 07/02/2024 00:50

Yanbu. It's also about capitalism. All the useful jobs don't generate much money. Or so they say. Pretty sure mat's are paying ceo's massive salaries and private care home bosses seem to be able to make large profits although apparently care is not profitable.

BobbyBiscuits · 07/02/2024 00:52

AAT is a good accountancy qual to get into that field. If you enjoy it you can move onto chartered status by studying on the job and doing icaew or cima. That is what most CFOs have and we know how much they earn. You could do an apprenticeship in accounting as well. It's not just for young folks, loads of older people do it when changing careers. It is a very lucrative business so go for it. Only caveat is it can be quite isolated work with not much human contact.

CheekboneMagazine · 07/02/2024 00:53

@BobbyBiscuits but I don't want to. I love what I do. I just don't understand why we can't be paid a living wage for doing what we're naturally good at.

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Prizefighter · 07/02/2024 00:54


Your job is very highly skilled and we are really grateful you do it. Flowers

I am well paid now but for a long time did very low paid jobs. I was the same person. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anyone with money to value my work. Now I am specialised, people will pay.

WandaWonder · 07/02/2024 00:55

There is chairty/government etc. jobs (ie not run as 'business') and there is business/company type jobs where someone started something and they pay staff but are making profit for themselves or shareholder type business

sure the first people can argue what people should be paid but for the second it is not run for fun there is a reason the person created the business/company and I presume make money so it is easy to say 'but they should be paying x' but I presume they have profit to make so don't it is not for fun

and yes I am aware there is different types of the above this is just one way

Even the NHS/Councils etc. still have budgets and financal benchmarks they need to make

MiaGee · 07/02/2024 00:55

Unfortunately, as you know the pay, you can only have one or the other. You've said yourself who is going to shell out to pay more? If you're not earning enough you need to move jobs. Some jobs just don't have the greater earning potential, and some do.

CheekboneMagazine · 07/02/2024 00:55

@Prizefighter what do you do now? You can be general like 'I work in healthcare'

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CheekboneMagazine · 07/02/2024 00:58

@MiaGee but plenty of men I know do the job they like and are good at, and are paid well. It's not impossible. Why does society not value these professions? After all we all pay for it? If your child needs an EHCP or a doctors appointment or an NHS autism assessment you will need the skills of a low paid public sector worker.

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Merrymouse · 07/02/2024 01:00

You are right.

Jobs that involve providing services to poor people tend to be badly paid, but that isn’t a measure of their value or the skills involved.

You are also right that caring skills are very, very undervalued.

MiaGee · 07/02/2024 01:01

If people don't sit back and accept that wage and consistently move on to better paid jobs then the demand would have to bring the wages more in line to be able to keep staff. While that's not happening they get away with it.

DontBeAPrickDarren · 07/02/2024 01:03

Are you full time OP? How many years post qualifying? My LA pays ASYEs £36k and that’s not a London or south east based authority. Seems like your employer is pretty tight.

CheekboneMagazine · 07/02/2024 01:05

@Merrymouse it's just very short term thinking. Prison is very expensive to the country. Investing in early years, safeguarding, support for children in the care system, teacher retention, CAHMs, that will categorically reduce bigger costs further down the line. Think about the cost of employing one extra family support worker vs a family breaking down and the children going into long term foster placements?

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CheekboneMagazine · 07/02/2024 01:05

@DontBeAPrickDarren yep AYSE.

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CheekboneMagazine · 07/02/2024 01:06

ASYE sorry. Full time

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DontBeAPrickDarren · 07/02/2024 01:07

In the whole of the West Midlands I’m struggling to find starting salaries for social workers below £32k so you must be getting a very raw deal! Not saying £32k is a great salary either for the work you do (and I worked with social workers for years so I do get it) - but your earning potential is possibly greater than your current salary.

CheekboneMagazine · 07/02/2024 01:10

@DontBeAPrickDarren I'm in the NHS, a trust where newly qualifieds start on band 5.

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Jellycatspyjamas · 07/02/2024 01:12

That’s seriously low even for newly qualified - I’m in Scotland and most local authorities are paying upwards of £35k.

DontBeAPrickDarren · 07/02/2024 01:14

Well, that’s shite. Especially given the local authority is likely paying much more than that. And your pension contributions will be higher in NHS.

Jellycatspyjamas · 07/02/2024 01:15

They are poorly paid because they are traditionally done by women and/or because they don't make anyone else substantially richer.

I do think there’s some truth to this though, while social work can be a great career with strong salaries as you progress, there’s a point when most of the senior managers are middle aged white men, and most of the practitioner staff are female. ‘‘Twas ever so.

blackpanth · 07/02/2024 01:16


CheekboneMagazine · 07/02/2024 01:17

@Jellycatspyjamas but I'll never get anywhere near six figures. Neither will any nurses, teachers (maybe some??) or OTs.

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CurlsnSunshinetime4tea · 07/02/2024 01:21

the thing is, if you are bright enough to make it through the sw uni program you are equally bright enough to have undertaken studies in a field that pays more.
yes you are very underpaid for what you do BUT with a different focus you could easily have become an hr lawyer and have been paid more.

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