Britain Clapping for Carers Doesn’t Mean Paying Them More


(Bloomberg) -- Britons are taking to their doorsteps and windows each Thursday to applaud the efforts of social care workers, but the appreciation seems to stop there.

Average pay advertised for new positions in the sector has risen by just 20 pence ($0.24) to 9.50 pounds per hour since before the U.K.’s coronavirus outbreak, according to data collected by recruitment website Indeed. At the same time, minimum wage for over-25s was increased by 51 pence at the start of April.

Around 40% care posts nationwide pay below the Real Living Wage -- an amount calculated each year based on the cost of living -- and in London that climbs to almost 70%, the analysis shows.

New job openings have plunged by half amid restrictions on businesses to slow the spread of coronavirus that have seen 8.5 job furloughed and jobless benefit claims spike to the most on record -- something that looks likely to depress wages for those still in work.

Yet the acute pressures of caring for the sick and elderly during the outbreak means new social care adverts have fallen by less than half of that. The phrase “care assistant” more than doubled to over 10% of searches of CVs on the website’s database last month, but jobseekers themselves were more interested in exploring driving and agriculture roles.

Pessimism about the labor market and state of the U.K. economy helped drive consumer confidence back down in May, according to a separate report from GfK.

“Consumer confidence remains battered and bruised despite efforts at loosening the Covid-19 restrictions,” said GfK Client Strategy Director Joe Staton. “With unemployment claims rising by the highest rate on record and warnings of a severe recession and possible tax hikes, the damage done by the coronavirus pandemic to the U.K. economic landscape has been laid bare.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.