Social workers would rather get a second job to supplement what many of them believe is an unreasonable salary than leave the sector, Community Care has found.
An online survey of more than a 1,000 social work professionals, who work full-time, found that 65 per cent felt they did not earn a reasonable salary and 72 per cent believed other public service workers such as teachers were paid better. But 55 per cent said they would rather find extra work than leave social care.
More than a fifth of those who responded to the survey had a second job, earning them on average an extra 6,500 a year, to boost an average income of 25,000, and one-third said they would consider taking on extra work.
Helga Pile, national officer for social care at public services union Unison, said: “It reveals that staff really are committed to the people they work with and think that what they are doing is valued but that should not give employers any excuse for complacency.”
Nushra Mapstone, professional officer for England at the British Association of Social Workers, said: “That’s a really strong testimony to the type of people that work in social care. We are talking about people who don’t come into it for the money and even though financially they don’t get rewards they are still prepared to stay with it.”
Pile said some people could be choosing not to leave their jobs because they knew that if they did the vacancy may not be filled, putting more pressure on colleagues.
Of those who had a second job, 63 per cent cited financial reasons as the main reason for having one, while 15 per cent said they did it for work variation.
Nearly a quarter had a second job in social care. Others were involved in work such as teaching and counselling, while some took on more unusual work. One respondent was a life model, another a mystery shopper, while somebody else had a second job in farming.
Mapstone said it was of serious concern that so many social workers took on second jobs to gain more pay and that this finding reflected serious recruitment and retention difficulties.