Stereotypical ideas of women’s caring role are driving low pay and high staff turnover in the female-dominated caring professions, an Equal Opportunities Commission report out yesterday found.
In a report on the undervaluation of work done predominantly by women, it said many care staff received “pocket money pay” as if the job were a labour of love, leading to unacceptably high levels of staff turnover, particularly in services for children and older people.
Turnover was 17% among early years full day care settings, 15% among care staff in children’s homes, 14% for care workers in residential homes for older people and 13% for home care staff working with older people, the report found.
EOC chair Jenny Watson said: “It is shocking that we still expect women who work in caring roles to work more for love than money. As our population ages, those of us who need more support to live independently into older age will rightly expect high quality services. But these expectations will not be met if we continue to undervalue the skills required to do such roles.”
The Equal Opportunities Commission called for a modernisation of the Equal Pay Act 1970, to enable equal pay laws to apply to employment practices including the contracting out of public services.