MAKING A DIFFERENCE:
A CAREER IN CARE
How many times have you thought of changing your job, or even your career, since this time last year? If you’re anything like a typical UK worker, you will have considered it about 16 times.
The Covid pandemic has made many of us reconsider our working lives. But well before then, plenty were thinking long and hard about what they do for a living. In fact, a 2017 Gallup survey showed that only one in ten UK workers feels actively engaged in their work.
Searching for work that matters
One key reason is that people are increasingly looking for real meaning in their work. From Generation Z, to millennials and older workers, research shows that workers want jobs that have a positive impact on other people, society as a whole and the planet.
So, if you find yourself asking what real difference your job makes to other people’s lives, you’re far from alone.
And if you’re looking for a role that can genuinely change lives for the better, we think you should consider a career in caring.
The care sector covers a huge range of roles, but they all have one thing in common — they’re all jobs that directly help other people’s happiness, wellbeing and health.
As a care worker, for example, every working day brings opportunities to improve a persons life. This can be in countless ways, including providing vital social contact, assisting with practical tasks, and helping cared-for people to maintain dignity and independence. And the effects of their work ripple out well beyond the individual, supporting families, medical services, and the wider community.
Here at Retain Healthcare, our care workers often describe their care job’s rewards in personal terms: it’s the smiles and thank-yous they get when they have made someone’s day brighter. It’s the connection they make with a cared-for person, one so profound that they may even be present at the end of life — a privilege that’s usually reserved for close family.
In short, a career in care offers a level of job satisfaction that few other roles can provide. In fact, we think that helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society to lead more independent lives is about as meaningful as careers get.
What about the pay in care work?
Battles over pay in the UK care sector continue to make the news. However, while it’s true that there are plenty of jobs that pay more than care work, it’s important to put this into context.
For example, very few roles in caring require a university degree. That means that young people with the right characteristics can start earning much sooner — and without being saddled with tens of thousands of pounds in debt.
In fact, what straight pay comparisons often miss is that all of the training for care workers is funded — so even if you decide that care isn’t for you, you’ve still acquired real transferrable skills, for free, which you can take into any future role.
In addition, the care sector offers plenty of opportunities for career progression and higher salaries. Many care workers go onto becomes administrators or managers within the care profession. The top positions can attract salaries of over £90,000.
So, although surveys show that up to 86% of us are willing to exchange higher wages for better job satisfaction, the good news is that in the care sector, you may not need to!
Is care work right for you?
Although care work is varied, meaningful and satisfying, it’s not for everyone. As a leading healthcare trainer and supplier of quality staff, we know from long experience what sort of person thrives in a care job.
We know, for example, that your personal characteristics are much more important than a great CV or academic qualifications.
Obviously, you’re going to need bags of empathy. You have to be able to put yourself in the shoes of a cared-for person, understanding their situation from their perspective.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can be passive. Care jobs involve taking responsibility and making your own decisions. The best sort of care focuses on making people more independent and building up their own resources, so often you’ll be working more like a consultant for your patient.
You’ll also need real resilience to cope with the tougher moments in care work. The hours can be long, with plenty of driving. Some custoemrs can be challenging (although winning them round can be immensely rewarding!). And seeing someone’s health decline is never easy. But successful care workers would agree that the good moments in their day-to-day work far outweigh the bad.
Making your 84,171 hours count
Over your working lifetime, on average, you can expect to spend 84,171 hours at work. And that’s not counting a further 4,890 hours spent on overtime, and 14,053 hours spent commuting.
If you’re looking to spend all that time — or just some of it! — doing something worthwhile, it’s worth considering a career in care.
If you’re empathetic, resilient and with an interest in helping other people, Retain Healthcare would love to hear from you.
Retain Healthcare is a leading provider of outcome-focused in-home care and support for elderly and vulnerable patients in the South West. Retain also recruits healthcare workers and provides high quality healthcare training. For all enquiries, please contact 0330 333 4443 or email firstname.lastname@example.org