How Much Does a Care Worker Really Get Paid?

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Wondering how much a care worker get paid? In this article we discuss the various factors that influence care worker salary.

How much does a care worker get paid and how does this compare to the salary of nurses, doctors and NHS staff? Find out in this guide to care worker salary.

Care workers fulfil an essential job in society. They work together with other healthcare professionals to provide people requiring special care with the attention that they need.

Some patients need round-the-clock care and there is a growing need for care workers. In the UK alone, there are over 120,000 open jobs for adult care workers.

Considering a career as a care worker? Read on for the average care worker salary and the type of schedule you can expect with this salary.

The Average Care Worker Salary

The average pay for a care worker depends on a few different factors as you’ll notice when reading through this guide to care worker salaries.

Depending on the employer, a care worker may earn more or less than the national average. PayScale gives an example of the difference in care worker salaries.

PayScale compares three of the biggest care worker employers. According to their data, the National Health Service (NHS) offers the highest average salary at ₤9 per hour while the Mears Group PLC offers the lowest average hourly pay at ₤7.77.

Yearly, this amounts to around ₤15,015–₤21,437, including bonuses, overtime and tips. This includes both part-time and full-time work.

Keep in mind that the data that PayScale analyses are limited. There may be greater variations if you compare all the care companies in the UK.

A Skills for Care report from 2019 pointed out that, although the average hourly wage in the UK was ₤8, there are regional differences. London and the South East had the highest hourly averages at ₤8,52 and ₤8,45, respectively, while the North East and North West had the lowest hourly average at ₤7,94 in both.

Care Worker Hourly Pay Per Job Sector

Besides the difference between employers, there is also a difference in care worker hourly pay depending on job location. For example, the average pay for those working in an elderly care home is different from the pay of those who make house calls.

It is also important to understand that many care workers who make house calls are independent workers. There is also a significant difference in income between independent care workers and contract workers.

The same 2019 Skills for Care report showed that there is about a 10% difference between the salary of an independent care worker and a senior care worker. However, this is not the only sector difference.

The highest average hourly pay for care workers is with private care companies. A survey by Indeed put the average hourly salary for a care assistant at ₤9,88, which comes down to approximately ₤12,891 per year.

Another aspect to consider is the time spent traveling between job locations. An independent care worker only gets paid for the hours they are physically at a house call, which means the travel time is unpaid.

So, if you are considering becoming an independent care worker, think about what this means for your work day. There are several ways to compensate for this as listed below:

  • Extending work day hours
  • Charging a higher hourly fee
  • Asking for travel compensation

In summary, there are differences between different areas of the care sector. Private care companies offer the highest average salaries, followed by senior care homes, with independent workers trailing behind.

However, independent workers can schedule their own working hours, which gives them more control over what they earn in a day. For more flexible work, being an independent care worker may be more interesting.

A Guide to Care Worker Salary by Experience Level

As in any career sector, there are differences between starter salaries and management salaries. As you would expect, the average care worker salary is lower for newcomers but there is less difference when compared to other sectors.

In the United Kingdom, employees under the age of 25 do not qualify for the National Living Wage (NLW). However, the 2019 Skills for Care report found that approximately 80% of care workers under the age of 25 still earned the NLW of ₤7,83.

The salary increase with increased experience level is not as drastic as in other sectors, either. Of course, there is a difference between job levels but not so much between experience levels.

According to PayScale, those with less than 1 year of care work experience earn an average of ₤8,09 per hour while those with over 20 years of experience earn an average of ₤9,02 per hour. These figures are supported by Skills for Care findings that show the wage gap between those with less than 5 years’ experience and those with more than 5 years’ experience has halved from 4% to 2%.

These statistics are promising for young workers entering the care industry. The younger and less experienced workers benefit from smaller wage gaps, making the industry more interesting at entry level.

How Much Does a Care Worker Earn in the UK?

In short, there is no definitive answer to the question “How much does a care worker really get paid?” There are differences between sectors, experience levels and geographic locations.

On a national average, care workers earn just over ₤8 an hour. This figure may be lower for independent care workers and those who are under 25 years old.

On the other hand, London and the South East offer higher average hourly pay for care workers. Private care company employees also earn significantly more than the average care worker.

There is also potential for improvement in the future. With the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a lot of pressure to raise the minimum wage of care workers in the UK.

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About the Author:

Evans B. Ofori

Evans B. Ofori is the founder and CEO of Adult Care Voice. Evans and his team help people who have passion for helping people find a satisfying and rewarding care worker jobs.