Male managers in adult social care earn at least £1 an hour more than women who do the same jobs, research has shown.
Female care managers and supervisors in the private and voluntary sectors earned on average £14.11 an hour in 2009 in England while their male counterparts earned £15.27, according to a working paper by the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London.
However there was no significant gender pay gap among less qualified workers, such as direct care workers, administrators and cleaners.
The working paper, Pay in Adult Social Care in England, used the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care to examine the pay of nearly 21,000 qualified and unqualified adult social care workers, broken down into hourly rates.
It found the average pay gap between qualified or professional workers, such as social workers, nurses and occupational therapists, and less qualified workers, such as senior care workers and care workers, ranged between £6.26 to £7.13 and hour.
Social workers earned £15.04 an hour on average while unqualified care workers earned £7.80 – only 60p more than ancillary staff such as cooks and cleaners (£7.20).
Ethnicity pay gaps existed among all job roles, and were widest among professional workers. White professional workers earned £14.63 an hour compared with the £13.02 earned by professionals from ethnic minorities.
Overall levels of pay for senior care workers and care workers were lowest in the Midlands.
Jill Manthorpe, director of the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, said: “It’s important at the moment, when efficiencies and savings are being discussed, to think about the levels of pay among some people in the sector.
“People have to remember that social care is not made up of fat cats with large salaries.”
Helga Pile, Unison’s national officer for social care, said pay in social care was kept low because staff rarely have access to training. “Professional development must be incentivised, which means a pay scale that can reward people who acquire extra training, skills and qualifications.”
“It is vital that pay for social care workers is brought up to a decent level – for both men, women and every ethnic group,” she added.
“In the 21st century, when equal pay legislation has been in place for nearly 40 years, there is no excuse for pay discrimination against women or ethnic minority groups.”