Feb 22, 2024

One in five care workers have multiple jobs, study finds

Almost a fifth of British care workers now have more than one job with different employers, according to a recent data report


In a recent data report, entitled The Big Shift: Navigating the Future of Work in the UK, it was found that due to financial pressures brought on by the cost-of-living crisis, many care workers are now working more than one job, with some working as many as four different jobs. 

The report is based on data from Deputy’s scheduling software platform along with a survey of workers across several shift work industries, with analysis by independent economist, Dr. Shashi Karunanethy.  

The shift work industries included are care, hospitality, retail and broader service delivery sectors. Providing analysis of over 40 million shifts across nearly 170,000 British workers, the report shows how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting crucial jobs, many of which already seen as challenging due to unpredictable schedules. 

Karunanethy said: “We’re seeing an unprecedented number of care workers holding multiple jobs, a phenomenon we refer to as poly-employment, and which is a response to the cost-of-living crisis. 

“16% of care workers have two jobs, 1% have three and 1% have four or more. With similar figures observed among other industries such as hospitality and retail, this is a significant trend. For many people it’s a tricky but necessary balancing act.” 

Wishing for a higher salary was a common theme across all sectors examined, but it was highest among care workers. More than half of care workers surveyed (51%) said they wanted better pay, while just under half (47%) said they would be motivated to change jobs by better pay. 

Moreover, the report also suggests that 44% of care workers report that their earnings have failed to match the rate of inflation, while 46% say they have no money left over covering monthly living costs. Worse still, 29% say they aren’t even able to cover their current living expenses. 

Karunanethy commented: “As a direct consequence of the financial challenges in the UK, we can see more care workers are taking on multiple jobs to financially sustain themselves.” 

Workforce management expert and Senior Vice President at Deputy, John Wilson, said, “The challenges of poly-employment are often experienced by those in the shift work sectors such as care, hospitality, retail, and broader services in this country. These workers need predictable hours, sustainable work, and financial security – which might not be available from a single role. Layered over this is the need for flexibility, particularly where workers may have other responsibilities such as caring for relatives.” 

While the ability to accommodate other commitments (46%), and the flexibility of scheduling (45%) were singled out as aspects of shift work which care workers like, 22% also cited it as one of their dislikes due to the unpredictability making it impossible to plan. Therefore, a careful balance needs to be struck to make the most of the benefits of shift work while avoiding as many of the negatives as possible. 

Wilson added: “The trends emerging from this report underscore the urgency for organisations to develop hiring and retention strategies that are attuned to the varying needs of workers. A significant emphasis on work flexibility and supportive HR policies are emerging as key factors in attracting and retaining staff at all levels. Understanding and preparing for the future of work in the UK is increasingly crucial for building a resilient, inclusive, and innovative labour market.” 

You can read more here for our top suggestions on how to get recruitment right and how to retain care staff. 

February 22, 2024

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