Working in social care is low-paid and unskilled right?

Working in social care is low-paid and unskilled right?

Working in social care is low-paid and unskilled, right? WRONG!

Within the media, there is often a focus on the low pay and unskilled nature of care and support work. When answering the question is a care worker skilled or unskilled, we’ve got a simple answer! Care & Support workers play an important role in our society, and they use their expertise and skills to do so.

The more complex side of the picture is how working in social care is perceived. We’re happy to set the record straight on that, too. We’ve got some facts, figures and more that help paint a more realistic picture of what working in social care is like.

What salary can I expect when I join? 

Anyone aged 23 or over will receive the national living wage, which is currently £10.42 per hour. People aged 21 to 22 should receive at least £10.18 per hour and for someone aged 18 to 20 the rate is £7.49. From our experience, many care providers will have a set starting rate though - so you’ll tend to find the pay matches the living wage even if you’re under 23. 

Here’s some roles currently live and the salaries that are on offer (*correct as of August 2023):

  • Support Worker in London - £24,856
  • Registered Nurse in London - £20.92 to £21.47 per hour
  • Night Care Assistant in Manchester - £10.90 to £11.45 per hour
  • Care Assistant in Manchester - £11.20 to £12.10 per hour

Care and Support work is interesting and varied. Often, it’s more multi-faceted than most retail, hospitality or office jobs. Each day is different and involves a wide range of tasks. Plus, many workers need to help people in their homes, which means travel time is a factor in their pay.

There are opportunities to develop and progress in your career to higher-paid roles, such as becoming a specialist and other training development roles. In fact, many Managers and Directors in care started in a frontline care position - so if you are interested in progressing, you’ll be in a great starting position when joining.

Here’s some roles with seniority we found when searching and the salaries that are on offer (*correct as of August 2023):

  • Care Home Manager in London - £40,000 to £50,000
  • Registered Care Manager in London - £65,000 to £97,500
  • Integrated Care Director in London - £99,891 - £114,949
  • Registered Care Manager in Manchester - £40,000 to £45,000 + £3,000 welcome bonus
  • Director of Care in Manchester - £72,500 

What skills does care work involve?

Thinking that a Care & Support worker doesn’t have skills is a misconception. The training that social care workers complete shows they are skilled workers, as does their hard work. Not only do they complete induction training, but they need to refresh their skills constantly and stay up-to-date with policies.

Types of training include:

  • First aid
  • Health and safety awareness
  • Safeguarding children
  • Safeguarding vulnerable adults
  • Manual handling
  • Moving and handling people
  • Food hygiene/food safety
  • Fire safety
  • Infection, prevention and control
  • Equality, diversity and human rights

Additional medical training could include:

Whether you already have some skills or develop them in another industry, you can continue to grow them with a role in social care.

When working in the care sector, a wide range of skills are required to meet the high standards required of the role. Fortunately, along with high standards comes job satisfaction. Care is a crucial part of the title and the role. Investing time and energy in people in a respectful and considerate way is one of the ways carers make such a significant impact.

As well as compassion and empathy, Care & Support workers need to practice active listening and excellent communication skills. These are essential for working with colleagues, supervisors and the people you help. 

A role in social care also requires exceptional time management, as there are many demands and tasks. Being organised certainly helps you play your part in the care system. Critical thinking and the ability to keep learning are also crucial when it comes to adapting to environments. It also helps you take appropriate action, sometimes in emergency situations.

Working in the care industry often requires advocacy for the rights and needs of residents and people supported. All these skills draw on the emotional intelligence of Care & Support workers.

While reading about the care industry will tell you a lot, especially hearing from people who currently work in it, there is also the opportunity to get involved in other ways. You could consider volunteering to have a first-hand understanding (we have lots of opportunities to volunteer that we share) or visiting a care home during Care Home Open Week or a recruitment open day.