Eurofound has shed light on new data from the EU Structure of Earnings Survey (SES) showing that the average hourly earnings of social services workers in all Member States are well below the average earned by all workers, with most social services workers (69.3%) working in the long-term care sector. In concrete, on average, EU Member States paid their social services workers 21% less than the average national hourly earnings in 2018. This data is a 2018 update of the 2010 and 2014 data available on December’s Eurofound’s report Long-term care workforce: Employment and working conditions. In comparison, we observe a worsening of the situation in the last years: in 2010, social services workers were paid 19% less than the average, and in 2014 a 20% less.

The SES data only include employees who work for larger care providers, excluding domestic long-term care workers employed by private households, who tend to have the worst working conditions. Long-term care workers also work more often on a part-time basis (42%) compared with workers in healthcare (26%) or all sectors together (19%).

Moreover, the share of long-term care workers has increased considerably, rising by one-third in just one decade. Most of these workers are women (81%), with higher rates in long-term care jobs that provide direct care. Thus, improving working conditions in long-term care would have an immediate positive impact on the situation of many women and also help address current and future shortages.

Eurodiaconia has long been advocating for an overall improvement of working conditions for the social care workforce in all Member States, which is an essential precondition to ensure quality social services. For this, social investment and adequate funding of social services are crucial.

If you want to know more about the work of Eurodiaconia in this area, you can read our High-Level Group Report on The Future of Social Services.

To have more information about this data, please refer to the Eurofound website.