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Part 4: Care work

Box 4: A Worker’s Profile Jumoke is a 34 year-old Nigerian. She came to Britain in 1997 because she already had relatives here and was also attracted by the high value of British qualifications. She lives in Hackney with her four-year-old daughter and her mother who works in catering. She had planned to study but needed to find employment in order to support her child. She has worked as a carer for the past three years as ‘indigenous people do not want the job.’ Compared to workers in other sectors, she is paid a higher wage, earning £6.31 per hour, but she receives no sick pay, nor any other payments. She also loses paid annual leave if she takes time off work to attend to emergencies. She implied that the training she received for the job was insufficient and she feels she’s been ‘dropped into the deep end’ although like many other carers, she finds the job satisfying as she enjoys caring for people. However, she resented the treatment she received from some clients, feeling that they treat her differently because she is a migrant.

As was the case with cleaners on the Underground, migrants from African countries represented the highest proportion of workers in the care sector (one half), with Nigeria and Ghana accounting for the largest single shares (11 and 9 respondents respectively). Correspondingly, the largest ethnic group was that of Black Africans (44%). Nationals from Europe made up the second largest share of workers in the sector (just under one third) and in contrast to other sectors, a significant proportion of the latter were British born. As a result, British Whites (including English and Scottish) made up the second largest ethnic group (one-fifth of the total).

Compared to the other sectors, fewer workers employed in home care used social networks of family and friends to find their job, although this was still the main method (two-fifths). Adverts were an important source of information about jobs (21%), followed by agencies (10%) and personal enquiries (9%), whilst other sources, such as local authorities, were used by 18% of workers. About one third of all workers were also students, constituting the highest share of students in all sectors. Consequently, most respondents held student visas (46%).

The pay scale for care workers was also different from that observed in other sectors in that earnings were concentrated in the upper part of the pay scale (Table 14). It can be seen that only one worker earned the NMW, whilst a minority earned hourly rates above it and up to £5.50 (10%). Nearly one half of workers earned hourly rates of between £5.51 and up to £6.69 an hour (the equivalent of between £1,0314 and £12,523 a year before tax and National Insurance), whilst a further two-fifths actually earned above the Living Wage rate of £6.70 per hour. Interestingly, it is worth noting

Hourly Rate






Between £4.86 and £5.50



Between £5.51 and £6.69



£6.70 and over



No response = 11




Table 14: Hourly Rate of Pay in Care Work


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