The field of care work is as demanding as it is rewarding – and it’s no secret that care workers are woefully under-supported and under-paid in the current climate. In 2024, many care workers are seeking ways to increase their earning potential, whether that’s by taking on additional hours or by finding other income sources.
This article explores practical strategies and opportunities within the care sector that can lead to a significant salary boost.
Boosting Your Income: Three Areas of Care Worker Employment To Consider
If you’re already working as a care worker, it’s likely that you already fall into one of the following categories. So why highlight them? It’s important not to box yourself in – if you’re looking at strategies to boost your income beyond simply asking for a pay rise, then it’s worth remembering that there are multiple other opportunities out there.
1) Care Agencies
Care agencies are organizations that recruit, train, and supply care workers to individuals or facilities requiring care services. They handle administrative tasks, such as payroll and scheduling, allowing care workers to focus on providing quality care.
High Paying UK Care Agencies
In the UK, some care agencies are known for offering competitive salaries and benefits. Agencies such as ‘Healthcare at Home’, ‘Bupa Care Services’, and ‘Care UK’ are recognized for their higher pay scales.
Researching and aligning with such agencies can be a strategic move to double your income.
2) Live-In Care
Live-in care is a sector where care workers reside with their clients, providing round-the-clock support. This arrangement often comes with higher pay due to the intensive nature of the work. It’s important to note that live-in carers will still typically either come from an agency or will be self-employed, but this often stands apart as it’s such a demanding care position.
Advantages of Live-In Care Positions
Live-in care positions typically offer higher salaries due to the constant availability and comprehensive care required. Besides the financial benefits, these roles often provide free lodging and food, significantly reducing living expenses and effectively increasing net income.
3) Direct Care/ Self-Employed Carers
Direct care refers to care workers being employed directly by the individual requiring care or their family, bypassing agencies. Self-employed carers handle their own insurance, their own hours, rates, and who they work with – which means the potential to set higher rates with clients.
Benefits of Direct Care Employment
Working in direct care often results in higher wages as there are no agency fees involved. It also allows for more personalized care, fostering deeper relationships with clients, which can lead to better job satisfaction and stability.
Transitioning to direct care requires a proactive approach. Building a strong personal brand, leveraging social media for marketing, and getting listed on platforms that advertise your availability are key. We’ve covered how to become a self-employed carer in more detail to get you started.
8 Ways To Increase Your Existing Salary as a Care Worker
For care workers already in the field, doubling your salary requires a mix of skill enhancement, strategic positioning, and exploring additional income avenues. Here are several effective strategies:
1. Upskill Your Current Qualifcations
This is one of the first things you should consider if you’re looking to increase your salary. Gaining more specialist qualifications will enable you to apply for more challenging roles, which will come with a wage to match those skills.
Focus on areas with a shortage of skilled workers to maximize your chances of successfully applying to new, higher-paying roles. Specializing in fields like dementia care or physical therapy can make you more valuable and open doors to higher-paying opportunities.
2. Negotiate Your Existing Salary
Don’t shy away from negotiating your salary, especially if you have gained new skills or have considerable experience.
You should never been penalised by your employer for having an open and honest discussion about your pay if you think you are deserving of a salary increase. Take a look at the average wage for care workers in your local area (having a look at what other roles are being advertised for is a good place to start), and make a list of any additional skills and responsibilities you have taken on since your last wage increase.
3. Seek Out Overtime Opportunities
Many care agencies and facilities pay higher rates for overtime. Willingly taking on extra shifts can significantly boost your income and, depending on how much overtime you take on, can dramatically increase your salary.
Of course, working overtime non-stop isn’t the best approach for care workers long-term, especially given the fact that many care workers struggle with their mental health due to the strain of caring anyway. While this may not be sustainable long-term, this can certainly help you in the short-term.
4. Work in High-Cost Living Areas
Locations with a higher cost of living often offer higher wages to compensate those additional costs. Often, these are urban locations in city-centres where the cost of living is generally much higher than it might be in a rural setting.
Likewise, high-cost living areas are more likely to have higher paying clients, so this is something to consider if you are a self-employed carer. Even if you are commuting into a high-cost living area to work, you can still afford to charge higher rates in these areas.
5. Diversify Your Income Sources
Beyond maximizing your income in your existing role, another key way to boost your salary as a care worker is to look at ways you can diversify your income. For example, this could include engaging in freelance care work alongside your regular job.
Websites like ‘mycaremyhome.co.uk‘ can be platforms to find such opportunities. Just make sure that you are up to date on the rules regarding self-employed care and have the correct insurance in place for this.
If you have expertise in a particular area, you could also consider conducting workshops or training sessions for other care workers or family members of those needing care.
6. Build an Online Presence
Create a professional profile on social media or a personal website, sharing your experiences as a care worker and advice you’ve picked up along the way. You could either share your experiences on a written medium, such as LinkedIn, X, or writing blog posts on Medium. Or, if you prefer a more creative approach, you could consider creating YouTube videos or starting a profile on Instagram.
A strong online presence can attract higher-paying private clients, but can also serve as a platform for other employment opportunities, such as speaking engagements and writing jobs.
If you are an employee, just make sure you are not going against the terms of your employment by speaking publicly about being a carer. It’s also important to ensure you are still protecting the privacy of your clients.
7. Join Professional Associations
Being part of professional care worker associations can provide networking opportunities, access to exclusive job boards, and information on high-paying roles.
Likewise, attending any industry events and conferences can be excellent events for networking and staying informed about trends and opportunities in the care sector.
8. Look at the bigger picture
Sometimes, benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off can be equivalent to a higher salary. Evaluate job offers in terms of total compensation, not just the hourly rate.
As you can see, there are multiple options available to anyone looking to boost their career next year.
In urgent need?
If you are a care worker and in urgent need of funds, there are a few potential other avenues. For example, The Care Workers charity offers crisis grants for carers workers who have experienced a recent chance in circumstances.
You can find out more about this and how to apply here.
Doubling your salary as a care worker in 2024 is achievable if you make some strategic moves within the care sector – just make sure you have the correct cover in place to do so.