I was talking to Bindi about this today. It’s not the first time I’ve thought or talked about it and I still don’t have an answer! Maybe you can help me?
I would say the most important jobs/roles in society fall into three categories. These are health, education and welfare.
Health encompasses nursing, doctors and so on.
Education includes teachers, learning assistants and more.
Welfare is about carers, staff who work in ‘homes’ or in a hospice and social workers.
If you think about it, the jobs are highly pressurised, they involve a lot of paperwork, they are bureaucratic and poorly paid! I mustn’t forget to mention that staff are accountable to the public as well!
Why then are they so poorly paid?
How does it make sense?
How can other jobs pay so much more?
I was talking to Suraj about this and he said it’s because most people are interested in making money. Thus if you make money for someone, you get paid more. That’s why so many other jobs are better paid.
Those of us in health, welfare and education don’t do that. We only look after what is the most precious thing to most people, at one point in their life or another. Usually ‘this thing’ becomes even more precious when they lose it or feel as if it’s slipping away. I guess this refers more directly to health and welfare. With regards to children, most people will tell you that their most precious possession is their children.
If you take all this into account why are people in these professions paid so little?
Yes, consultants are paid more because they have studied for so long and they know so much but do they really deserve to be paid so much more? Who does the daily caring for the patients? Remember this includes lifting them, helping them go to the toilet, changing bandages, administering medication, saving lives, counselling and more! One of my good friends is a nurse and she has a poor social life! Why? Well…she works unsociable hours and when she’s not working, she’s recovering from her shifts and her lack of sleep. Nurses aren’t in a job where they can say ‘I’m going to go and take my break now’. They have to make sure that patients wont be left vulnerable and without supervision. They often don’t finish when they’re supposed to and they don’t get paid for this so called ‘overtime’.
Yes head teachers are paid so much because they are responsible for the school but who teaches the children everyday, cares for them, checks for neglect, signs of abuse, helps them socialise, encourage them to be independent and so much more? Teachers are on the front line. Sometimes we play the role of being the parent of the parents, parent to the child, social worker, counsellor, child protection, academic educator, report writer and so much more. We don’t clock off at 3:15 p.m. and start at 9 a.m. We work before and after school hours. We work during the holidays completing assessments, marking, planning etc. Unlike being in an office, we often have to plan going to the toilet because we can’t just leave the class because we need to go. Some schools now have a sign in Reception saying that the staff have the right to come to work without being abused. This seems to be a situation that a lot of key workers are finding themselves in. What a shame!
I’m not sure if those who run ‘homes’ and those who manage social workers are paid lots more but generally they do not have enough funding, enough staff or enough power to do what they need to do. Of course when this reality is in the face of the public; there’s uproar, outrage and demands are made but the issue and the risks are not new! They were there before, it’s just that something horrid happened, got well publicised and suddenly everyone’s interested! How does that work?
Where does more money need to be placed?
Where does funding really need to go?
Do you agree or disagree? Please do share your thoughts with me. It’s something I’ve struggled to understand for a very long time!