Childcare workers only get £1 for every £9.50 of benefits to society they create, according to a recent study called ‘A Bit Rich’ by the New Economics Foundation. In contrast, leading bankers (who are paid £500 thousand to £80 million a year) actually destroy £7 for every £1 they’re paid!
OK, to be fair, the aftermath of the global economic crisis isn’t the best of times to be considering how much value bankers generate. Still, the message is clear: Childcare workers could stand to be appreciated a whole lot more.
How Much More?
10 times more sounds about right, wouldn’t you say? Of course, we all know that salaries of childcare workers isn’t going to budge no matter how many men in white lab coats say they’re undervalued. Even years of experience and qualifications will only up their salaries by a tiny amount.
Maybe the low salaries of childcare workers is due to the fact that society believes it’s an easy job, which anybody can do. Well, I’ve spent years as an analyst in several top financial institutions. While it’s debatable how well your average childcare worker would fit into the world of finance, I can confidently say that few of my highly-paid ex-peers from the world of finance would be able to ensure the educational, physical, social and emotional well-being of children.
And isn’t that what salaries are about? The fewer the number of people who can accomplish a required job, the higher their monetary reward should be?
But What’s The Required Job?
I think that’s where the real problem lies. To me, the ‘required job’ would be to make sure kids grow up happy, and at their full potential. To most, however, the ‘required job’ is probably to ensure that kids in a childcare setting are merely still breathing when their parents come to pick them up. Being happy and encouraging their full developmental potential would just be (unnecessary) bonuses.
Here’s the 44 page study by the New Economics Foundation:
Or if you prefer, a 1 page BBC article which sums it up pretty well.