Salaries Increasingly Important To Social Care Workers As Economy Improves

  • The proportion of social care workers citing compensation as a top five factor in who to work for has doubled over the past three years
  • ‘Generation Perspiration’ who struggled through the recession as part of resource-stretched teams is now being replaced by ‘Generation Remuneration’ who realise their financial worth 

The proportion of social care workers citing compensation as the most important factor they consider when choosing to work for a specific company has doubled over the past three years, according to research by social care recruitment agency Randstad Care.

As the UK’s economic prospects continue to improve, employees in the sector now feel more confident in being explicit about their monetary motivations whereas during the financial downturn, the implicit suggestion was that individuals should be grateful for employment rather than seeking improved terms.

In 2012, when the worst of the global crash was over but the country was still technically in recession, just 10% of social care workers admitted that compensation was top of their agenda. But fast forward to the present day and a fifth of respondents now claim that potential remuneration is their highest priority when weighing up new employers. In simple terms, a higher salary is more important to those seeking a new role in the post-recession climate, particularly those beginning their careers.

Year Proportion
2012 10%
2013 20%
2014 22%
2015 20%

TABLE 1: Proportion of social care employees who say compensation is the most important factor they consider when choosing to work for a specific company

Victoria Short, MD of Randstad Care, said: “Social care workers aren’t necessarily as motivated by money as those in other sectors, but that doesn’t mean that they are completely immune to financial incentives when considering new positions. Like employees in other sectors chastened by the recession, wages became even less of a factor during the downturn as individuals were glad to hold on to their jobs and the remuneration on offer became secondary. However, now the economic outlook looks more positive, social care workers are less conscious of this fact and are more confident about seeking improved terms.

“This shift is due in part to a new generation beginning their careers who didn’t work through the recession and so don’t wear the scars that their more seasoned colleagues do in terms of attitudes to pay. Generation Perspiration – those who rolled up their sleeves and worked as part of smaller teams as resources were stretched by job losses – are giving way to Generation Remuneration, who place compensation higher up their wish-lists than their more experienced counterparts.”  


The findings – from research conducted for this year’s Randstad Award – should represent a warning to social care employers attempting to attract new talent into the sector.

Previous investigation by Randstad Care revealed that the UK needs an additional 70,000 social care professionals by 2050 to satisfy rising population levels, so organisations have their work cut out to try and bridge that gap while retaining their existing workforces.

If entry-level salaries aren’t attractive enough to those employees for whom compensation is an important consideration, then there is the risk that these individuals will pursue alternative career paths.

Victoria Short added: “We know that many people who embark on long, successful careers in social care do so because they find the work fulfilling, rewarding and are driven by an innate desire to help others. They may like the flexibility that some roles afford or seek other attributes such as job security, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that future generations will seek these same traits in an employer.

“Indeed, it would appear that those taking their first steps on the social care career ladder are less burdened by salary taboos and know what they want from a first job. Employers need to be mindful of this or they could risk alienating swathes of potential fresh talent that are turned off by the remuneration on offer.

“Coupled with the Chancellor’s announcements in the Emergency Budget around the National Living Wage, social care employers need to be aware that they are going to have to start paying out more for even the most junior positions.”