“Pay hikes are not enough, carers want careers” – Kirstie Jones, Group People Director at Salutem Care and Education

Selfie photo of Kirstie Jones, Group People Director at Salutem Care and Education

Salutem Care and Education has hit out at sector leaders who offer ‘living wage for life’ deals to carers, without proper career progression opportunities.

Kirstie Jones, Group People Director at Salutem Care & Education, which provides support to individuals with complex needs and disabilities at 130 services nationally, says that companies should offer real careers for prospective employees, not just headline-grabbing quick fix pay rises focusing on the lowest pay rates.

Kirstie said, “The recruitment crisis in the care sector is well documented and companies are increasingly looking at ways to attract people from other, often more immediately lucrative roles. Many are opting to adopt or exceed the Real Living Wage, offering current and prospective staff an attractive proposition. Increasing the lowest pay rates is, of course, important but how many are offering more than that? Real and sustained opportunities to grow and develop a real career in the sector, rather than a lifetime on the Living Wage?

“At Salutem, we believe the solution alongside the right pay rates is to offer sustained and a long-term career offer to our employees, where we recognise progress and offer our colleagues real opportunities to progress. Our competency framework and pay strategy mean that people benefit both financially and in their seniority within the organisation from training and advancement.”

The Salutem pay scale means that its rates of pay already exceed the National Living Wage but it also rewards those with ambition, who can achieve higher pay bands, without the need to be promoted, by assessing colleagues’ skills, values and qualifications.

Kirstie continued, “By taking a skills-based approach to pay, we are encouraging our team members to be ambitious for themselves and the sector. There is no reason that care shouldn’t be seen as a proper career with real opportunities for progression but all too many organisations are more interested in short-term solutions than addressing recruitment issues in the long-term – at Salutem, we’re doing both.”