Pay rates

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This report details pay rates across the adult social care sector in England as at February 2019. 

It examines pay trends since 2011/12, investigates any side effects in the adult social care sector as a result of the higher pay floor, and looks at the potential impact of the 2019 National Living Wage (set at £8.21).

The report mainly focusses on care worker hourly rates and differentials with other job roles in the sector.

Key findings

  • The average care worker was better off, in real terms, by 59p per hour in February 2019 than they were in September 2012 (8%).
  • Given the aim for the NLW to reach 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020, it is likely that care workers will see both nominal and real term increases up to 2020.
  • The pay gap between the most experienced care workers and those new to the sector has narrowed from 32p in 2016 to 17p in February 2019.
  • Since the introduction of the NLW, the proportion of care workers being paid the minimum rate has almost doubled. In February 2019, 30% of care workers were paid the minimum compared to 17% in March 2016.
  • Just over a quarter (26%) of care workers were paid on or above the Real Living Wage (set by the Living Wage Foundation) in September 2012, but this figure has slowly fallen to just over 10% in February 2019.
  • Around 84% of adult social care organisations in the independent sector in February 2019 were paying at least some of their workers below the next mandatory NLW (£8.21) and will therefore be directly affected by its introduction.

Related reports 

  • Please see chapter five of the relevant regional report for pay information by geographical area. 
  • Access pay information in chapter five of the 'State of' report below.
  • Access specific pay information in the workforce estimates below.


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