Social Care Is Britain’s Only ‘Selfless’ Profession

  • Social carers are only UK workers motivated primarily by factors other than salary
  • Even teachers and nurses list competitive salary and benefits as the top issue when looking for a new job
  • By contrast, carers say job security is most important when choosing an employer

Social carers are the only section of the UK workforce to list non-salary factors as their prime consideration when looking for a job, according to research carried out by specialist care recruitment agency Randstad Care.

A poll of over 10,000 UK workers[1] undertaken as part of this year’s Randstad Award found that workers from every sector and industry in the UK list cash and benefits as their number one consideration when choosing a new employer. The only exception is social workers for whom long term job security, listed by 22% of social workers, is the top priority when choosing a new employer. Fewer than one in four social workers (18%) say that a competitive salary and employee benefits would be their main consideration.

This compares sharply to similar professionals, who regard earnings as number one including nurses, teachers and doctors.

Priority when looking for an employer Proportion top priority
Long-term job security 22%
Competitive salary & employee benefit 18%
Interesting job content 10%
Conveniently located 9%
Work-life balance 8%
Pleasant working atmosphere 7%
Flexible working arrangements (flexitime, teleworking, etc.) 5%
Career progression opportunities 4%
Employer is financially healthy 4%
Offers quality products/services 4%

TABLE: Social workers’ top 10 considerations when looking for an employer

Social workers also come second only to lawyers when it comes to the importance of an employer’s reputation for quality of service.

Suggesting a core of ultra-dedicated social workers, almost one in twenty (4%) consider the quality of their prospective employer’s client service above all other factors when choosing who to work for. This means they rank quality of service ahead of all issues including pay, job security, location, convenience, work-life balance, or even a pleasant working atmosphere.

Only the legal profession ranks higher by this measure of dedication to excellence, with 7% of lawyers putting the quality of a prospective employer’s services ahead of all other factors. Such devotion to service comes despite legal professionals earning on average twice the gross annual earnings of a social worker (£26,924 compared to £14,058) [2].

Victoria Short, managing director of Randstad Care, comments: “We all want fulfilment and a sense of purpose, while also getting the salary we deserve. Anyone’s dream job would encapsulate both sides of that puzzle. Yet those in the care profession are unique in the importance they place on quality of service to others. Care workers don’t want a raw deal – but for them especially, a major part of the job is a calling to improve society.

“Recent changes to the funding of social care in the public sector have also pushed security of employment up the agenda for the profession. So while the wider benefits of the job have always been more important to carers, it’s no surprise that the factor to push hard cash off the top spot would be job security. However, there will always be an enormous and growing demand for the vital support these selfless strivers provide. Social worker jobs are changing – but there will always be vacancies to fill and people to help.”