"Here at last is some positive news for the private care sector," said Vivienne Copeland, Head of Croner Reward at Wolters Kluwer
Most care workers in the UK private sector may be enduring a pay freeze -like their public sector counterparts - but more companies have increased pay and are budgeting for inflation-busting awards over the next 12 months, according to Croner (www.cronersolutions.co.uk), part of global information services company Wolters Kluwer.
The 2013 survey analyses the pay and benefits of more than 87,000 employees of companies and charities providing residential and domiciliary care services in England.
Almost half froze their employees' pay in their last settlement, which is in line with the previous Croner Care Sector Rewards survey for 2012 - and the two-year pay freeze imposed on care workers in the public sector. In the private sector as a whole, less than 20% of employers froze pay over the last 12 months.
The average settlement figure (0.9%) in the private care sector saw little change from 2012 (0.8%), but twice as many companies managed to lift pay by 2% or more. The range of settlements was 0% - 3%, compared with 0% - 2.25% in the previous 12 months.
"Here at last is some positive news for the private care sector," said Vivienne Copeland, Head of Croner Reward at Wolters Kluwer. "It is notable, in a struggling economy with average earnings overall falling in real terms, that more care workers are receiving pay rises that at least begin to claw back the purchasing power lost to rising prices."
"And the outlook for the sector is also better, as more employers expect to increase their staff's basic pay - in some cases by significantly more than inflation," Vivienne Copeland added.
Average pay will rise to 1.4% and the top award could reach 7.5%, according to those private care providers willing to predict their next settlement. Only around a third are forecasting a pay freeze in the coming 12 months.
Significant regional variations in pay are confirmed in the Wolters Kluwer survey, with London-based workers well above the national average for the sector. For mid-rank staff - senior carers, care and senior care co-ordinators, nurses and senior nurses, and care supervisors - that premium is in the 8.4% - 14.4% range.
Pay in the South of England tends to hover around the national average, leaving private care workers in the Midlands and the North up to 5% below, with exceptions for some specific ranks.
Regional variations are less pronounced for senior staff such as home and care managers.
Croner, a Wolters Kluwer business, is the UK’s largest provider of employment, HR and health and safety information and services. It has served HR, health & safety and business professionals since 1948 with market-leading products and services.