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Personal service occupations account for almost half of the social care workforce. Professionals account for 7.69% of the workforce, which is below the all industry average (15.5%). Managers and senior officials (12.2%) and administrative/secretarial workers (8.46%) are also account for smaller proportions of the social care workforce than the UK average (8.46% and 11.4% respectively).

An increase in the number of people who use social care services starting to employ their own support staff is expected. This means that emerging roles are expected to include: personal assistants; support brokers; assessment and enablement officers; co-ordination and brokerage officers.

Source: UK Sector Skills Assessment 2010 and Skills for Care and Development AACS LMI report 2010

Occupational skills shortages

There is a shortage of qualified social workers in some parts of the UK, especially those with specialist skills and experience in working with families and children. Current skills needs across the early years, children and young people’s sector as a whole include leadership and management to support new service delivery models and ways of working (e.g. leading multi-agency teams). There are mandatory qualifications requirements for some roles and government policy has been to support the development of a graduate led children’s workforce, as well as encouraging integrated working across different public services and professional groups.

Local authorities have recently reported a shortage of workers with commissioning, procurement and tendering/negotiation skills. More generally, employers report a lack of basic skills, communication skills, and team-working skills amongst new entrants.

Sources: Skills for Care and Development AACS LMI report 2010

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Occupational skill shortages and hard-to-fill vacancies

In England:

  • 25% of employers in the sector report vacancies, compared to 12% in all sectors
  • 7% report hard-to-fill vacancies, compared to 3% in all sectors
  • 4% report skill shortage vacancies, compared to 3% in all sectors
  • 23% of establishments report skills gaps, compared to 19% in all sectors
  • the proportion of staff described as lacking proficiency is 7%

Source: National Employer Skills Survey 2009

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Emerging occupational roles

Some emerging roles include:

  • Support brokerage – A facilitation role explicitly focusing on developing a support group around the person receiving the service, and their family, working together through the stages of self-directed support. The facilitator guides and signposts the person and their family.
  • The independent support broker – This role includes assistance in the development and organisation of support plans up to the point of implementation. Tasks might include, identifying the person’s preferences, needs and resources, leading to planning goals identifying and evaluating potential support options; finding, negotiating, and contracting with support providers; finding and preparing community services and resources.
  • Personal Assistant or PAs – PAs deliver care to those in receipt of direct payments and increasing numbers of individual budget holders. The diverse profile of those already in post reflects the innately individual nature of the role; people who use services often value the PA’s background and competence more than whether the PA holds any social care qualifications. Character, adaptability, empathy and strong communication skills are key.
  • Family support worker (sometimes described as social work assistants) – People in this role are not qualified social workers, but may have case responsibility and might have some relevant training, experience and related qualifications. A family support worker might also be someone who supports a qualified social worker. Some of these staff may be training to become a qualified social worker while undertaking this role.
  • Learning mentor – This role originated as one of the three main strands of the Excellence in Cities initiative, and work largely in primary and secondary education settings. Learning Mentors are salaried staff who work with school pupils and college students to help them address their barriers to learning. At present, people in these roles tend to have other related experience but, as the profession develops, people will come through the learning mentor route.

Sources: Skills for Care and Development AACS LMI report 2010 and UK Sector Skills Assessment 2010

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Salary levels

Key statistics:

  • The average weekly earnings for employees in the sector are below the average weekly earnings for all employees (all industries).
  • Weekly earnings are on average, less for workers in residential services and less for women than for men.
  • The North West, North East and West Midlands have the lowest rates for care workers at £6.00 per hour while London has the highest at £6.99 per hour.
  • At senior care worker level, the North West have the lowest rates at £6.25 an hour while the South West have the highest rates at £7.25 per hour.

Levels of pay vary across the social care sector and are dependent on job role, type of employing organisation and the level experience required. There is also variation in pay levels across public, private and third sector employers. The following only provides an indication of salary levels.

In adult social care, over 2008, hourly rates rose for care workers, senior care workers and community support and outreach workers. By February 2009 their median hourly rates were £6.56, £7.00 and £7.08 respectively. This compares to a current adult national minimum wage of £5.73 per hour. However, these headline England level figures mask regional differences and differences between sectors and settings.

Across children and young people’s services, the following salary information is only a guide to hourly pay for some occupations:

  • Full day care – childcare staff £5.60, supervisors £7.00, senior managers £9.30
  • Sessional providers – childcare staff £5.80, supervisors £6.80, senior managers £8.00
  • Nannies in Primary Schools – early years/foundation stage coordinators £18.20, qualified early years teachers £15.60, nursery nurses £9.50, other staff £7.90
  • Children’s Centres – childcare staff £7.00, supervisors £9.80, senior managers £14.00

Trainee Connexions Personal Advisers (PAs) start on around £18,000, experienced PAs earn from £23,000 to £29,000, and those with a management role or specialism can earn up to £35,000.

Salaries for learning mentors range from a starting salary of £11,000 to £24,000, whilst more senior posts range from £23,175 to £24,708.

Experienced education welfare officers can earn up to £30,000, middle managers/senior practitioners £40,000 and senior managers up to £55,000 per year.

Educational psychologists have a nationally negotiated pay agreement, salary ranges from:

  • Assistant educational psychologist £25,824 to £28,981
  • Trainee educational psychologist £21,007 to £28,693
  • Scale A educational psychologist £31,302 to £41,001
  • Scale B senior or principal educational psychologist £41,001 to £55,835

Portage workers – starting salary for full-time staff £15,000 to £18,000 per year, experienced staff £19,000 to £22,000 per year and senior staff up to £30,000

Salary data for nannies in domestic premises is difficult to collect, so the following only provides an indication of annual gross salaries:

  • Live-in nannies – range from £17,908 to £24,545 (in London)
  • Daily nannies – range from £22,263 to £33,179 (in London)

Salary ranges for those working in Children’s Services and Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) include:

  • CAFCASS – family support worker £19,133 to £22,510, family court advisers £28,137 to £33,765, service managers £34,890 to £37,142, Head of services £40,000 to £45,000
  • Residential childcare workers – residential social workers £19,300 to £27,800, agency staff and care assistants £10.48 per hour to £12.20 per hour
  • Social work – local authority social workers £22,513 to £30,983, senior social workers/team leaders £33,387 to £37,347
  • Children’s Homes (with up to 15 places) – managers £32,279 to £38,381, deputies £26,358 to £30,843
  • Family support workers – starting salary circa £16,000, experiences £19,000 to £25,000, Workers assuming additional management roles up to £28,000

The national minimum allowance applies to all foster carers approved by a fostering service registered in England who are caring for a looked after child. The base rate for babies is £100 per week rising to £151 per week for secondary (16-17 year olds).

For more information on salary levels see National Minimum Data Set – Social Care.

Sources: Skills for Care and Development AACS LMI report 2010 and UK Sector Skills Assessment 2010

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Occupational roles and sources of information

Skills for Care has developed a career pathway e-tool for those considering a career in social care and for those already working in the sector to show the range of career development opportunities. The website also has information on entry routes and qualifications and training.

The National Careers Service website also has detailed occupational profiles for the health sector under social services and medicine and nursing. These profiles include information on entry points, training, working environment, employment opportunities and expected annual salary.

The Graduate Prospects website (a graduate careers website) includes information on broad sectors including: health and social care. Each includes information on: job roles entry and progression; typical employers; opportunities abroad; future trends; case studies; plus a list of contacts and resources.

Careersbox has films of those working in the education, health and care sector, including: nursery assistant; play leader; childminder; and youth worker. Films are from those already working in the sector giving an insight into what it is like and what their role involves.

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