Pay rates

Data correct as at 2020/21

Next update due: Mid October 2022

The following information refers to data from the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) on care workers employed in the independent sector in England as at 2020/21. This information uses pay data from the 2020/21 period where the National Living Wage (NLW) was £8.72. You can download a copy of the report here.



Downloading the visualisation and notes about the data

  • You can also download a PDF or PowerPoint version by clicking on the arrow found at the bottom right of the visualisation.
  • There are notes about the data when you hover over the ( i ) in the visualisation.
  • For information about how workforce estimates are created or rounding and suppression rules please visit our webpage on methodology.
  • If you require data that isn’t available in the visualisation or report below, please contact us.


Key findings

  • Care workers were paid a median hourly rate of £9.01 in the independent sector. This was 29 pence higher than the National Living Wage.
  • In April 2020, the National Living Wage rose from £8.21 to £8.72 (6.2% in nominal terms). This increase contributed to a 6.0% increase in the median nominal care worker hourly rate from March 2020 to March 2021. This was the highest increase over the recorded time period.
  • Analysis of workforce data from the ASC-WDS shows that there were no substantial differences in pay according to the gender or ethnicity of care workers after accounting for their geographic location, sector, service type and experience. Skills for Care will continue to monitor this information.
  • The nominal (not adjusted) median care worker hourly rate increased steadily from £6.75 in September 2012 to £9.01 in March 2021, a nominal increase of £2.26 per hour (34%). However, in real terms (adjusted for inflation), the average care worker is £1.36 per hour (18%) better off in March 2021 than they were in September 2012.
  • Since the introduction of the NLW (March 2016 to March 2021), a higher proportion (21%) of care workers were paid at the minimum rate, compared to the 16% of care workers paid the minimum rate in 2016.
  • With the increasing wage floor, some social care organisations haven’t been able to maintain the pay differential, with funding going towards increasing the hourly rate of the lowest paid workers, and higher paid staff receiving slower pay growth


Further resources

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