Why are Care Workers Unappreciated?

Last week I posted about what makes care workers feel appreciated. It is a hot topic and long may that continue. However, for many years care workers have been unappreciated. With people looking at the Kardashians and celebrities alike, as sources of inspiration and role models. Making the mistake of thinking that what we earn per hour is representative of our value to society.

Do not get me wrong, entertainers as those above should be paid well. They draw and incredible audiences and if they are not paid then the corporations keep it anyway! However, as a society as a whole need to use the challenges that have befallen us to learn a valuable lesson.

That lesson is that our value is what we give to people, not the money we earn.

What is being unappreciated?

Being unappreciated is feeling that you do not have value, or not being rewarded for the efforts that you make.

You can have this feeling at work, amongst friends, and even within your own family.

How are people unappreciated in care?

Care Workers, Nurses and Care Managers have all been unappreciated for many years. This is reflected in many ways. From how the industry is portrayed upon in the media, a lack of understanding, often being paid National Living Wage and being considered low skilled by government.

Let me explain why.

How the industry is portrayed in the media

The Care industry is covered terribly by the media. News outlets, hungry and driven by advertising revenue, are in a desperate search for the next calamity. Nothing sells, or gets more clicks, better than sex and bad news.

Unfortunately, like every other industry, we have 5% of people that have no place in our care homes. These people need to be weeded out and made sure they never return to care. But often, these people are the only people reported on. This is incredibly unfair, as, for every bad thing that happens in homes across the UK, there are hundreds of thousands of incredible moments of kindness. All of which go unreported.

Lack of Understanding

The people most guilty of undervaluing care workers, nurses, and care managers? That’s right! Care Workers, Nurses, and Care Managers!

Care Managers have a tall order. They need to effectively manage their team, with very little time for personal development. They often spearhead the recruitment but with an ever-shrinking pool available. All whilst managing an ever-decreasing budget, as services continue to be underfunded. CQC continually raising their expectations, without much in the way of real support for services to have access to more or better resources. Anything but easy.

Care Managers are heroes but unfortunately, they do not have superpowers. Which means that some of the above begins to slip. With this breeds frustration and more pressure being applied to Care Workers and Nurses to deliver more and more. Before they were going above and beyond out of the goodness of their heart but now it is expectation. With expectation comes very little thanks.

Being paid national living wage and considered low skilled

I have addressed the issue of National Living Wage in care in a recent podcast in some depth. Feel free to check it out here!

However, care workers are often paid National Living Wage, which is 60% of average earnings. If they were paid 59% of average earnings, they would be considered as in relative poverty.

Care work is considered low skill, but with the training and responsibility you have as a carer now, that is simply not true. I have an interesting chat with Sharon about this, you can hear that here.

These are some of the reasons why I believe care workers are unappreciated. We will continue to add to this blog as we learn more. If you have something you would like to contribute, contact us on FacebookTwitter or email adam@unappreciatedcarer.co.uk