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One Fifth Of Care Workers Managing Multiple Jobs

Almost a fifth (19%) of British care workers now have more than one job with different employers.

The finding is one of many in a new data report, The Big Shift: Navigating the Future of Work in the UK. With analysis by independent economist, Dr. Shashi Karunanethy, the report is based on data from Deputy’s scheduling software platform along with a survey of workers in 2023.

Spanning shift work industries including care, hospitality, retail, and broader service delivery, the report provides analysis of over 40 million shifts across more than 169,000 British workers and shows the impact of the cost-of-living on vital workforces typically associated with unpredictable work schedules.

“We’re seeing an unprecedented number of care workers holding multiple jobs, a phenomenon we refer to as poly-employment, and which is a response to the cost-of-living crisis,” said Karunanethy. “16% of care workers have two jobs, 1% have three and 1% have four or more. With similar figures observed among other industries such as hospitality and retail, this is a significant trend. For many people it’s a tricky but necessary balancing act.”

Data reveals a major impact from cost pressures on care workers, with 44% reporting that their earnings have failed to match the pace of inflation and the rising cost of living. A substantial 46% say they have no money left over after paying their living costs and a further 29% say they are unable to cover their current living expenses.

Better pay is top of the wishlist for 51% of care workers, compared to 41% of those in hospitality and 44% in retail. A similar proportion said they would be motivated to change jobs by better pay (52% of care workers compared to 47% of hospitality workers and 43% of retail workers).

Karunanethy commented: “As a direct consequence of the financial challenges in the UK, we can see more care workers are taking on multiple jobs to financially sustain themselves.”

The findings are supported by the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which show that over 1.2 million Brits hold two or more jobs.

The ability to fit in other commitments (46%) and schedule flexibility (45%) were highlighted as aspects of shift work that care workers like. However, this needs to be managed well to avoid any potential negative impact, with 22% saying that unpredictable schedules make it impossible to plan – one of their dislikes.

Deputy SVP, John Wilson said: “The challenges of poly-employment are often experienced by those in the shift work sectors such as care, hospitality, retail, and broader services in this country. These workers need predictable hours, sustainable work and financial security – which might not be available from a single role. Layered over this is the need for flexibility, particularly where workers may have other responsibilities such as caring for relatives.”

The figures contained in the research show that women predominate in most shift work sectors. This is most pronounced in the care sector with women contributing 74% of the shift work hours. In both the hospitality and retail sectors, women account for 51% of total shift work hours. However, in adjacent services such as delivery services and in-home care, the representation of women in shift work hours is slightly lower, at 45%.

Wilson added: “The trends emerging from this report underscore the urgency for organisations to develop hiring and retention strategies that are attuned to the varying needs of workers. A significant emphasis on work flexibility and supportive HR policies are emerging as key factors in attracting and retaining staff at all levels. Understanding and preparing for the future of work in the UK is increasingly crucial for building a resilient, inclusive, and innovative labour market.”

 

 

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