Carers and employment – facts and figures:
- 3 million people combine caring for a loved one with paid work.
- Every year, over 2 million people become carers, some overnight, some more gradually – so there is a new population of carers in the workforce every day.
- Carers make up 11% of the total UK workforce, 1 in every 9 employees.
- Of the 2.5 million people in England and Wales who combine caring with paid work, 1.5 million work full-time, 662,000 are part-time and 380,000 are self-employed.
- Almost 400,000 people in the UK combine full-time work with caring for 20 hours a week or more, of these 200,000 are working full time and caring for 50 hours per week or more.
- Eight out of ten carers are of working age, ie aged between 16 and 65.
- 90% of working carers are aged 30+ – in their prime employment years.
- Male carers are more likely to be in work than females, six out of ten male carers work, and 90% of these work full-time.
- Working carers pay a heavy penalty in terms of their own health. Those with heavy caring responsibilities are 2 to 3 times more likely than workers without caring responsibilities to be in poor health.
- The Carers UK Caring and Family Finances Inquiry UK Report showed that over 2 million people have given up work at some point to care, 3 million have reduced working hours.
- Women are more likely to give up work in order to care.
- Carers UK’s Real Change Not Short Change survey (2007), which had a higher proportion of heavy end and older carers, found that more than half (54%) had given up work to care. Many had retired early due to their caring responsibilities – an average of 8 years early.
- The carers who responded to this survey had lost an average of £11,000 per year in earnings because of giving up work, cutting their hours or taking a more junior job.
- Men and women who care for 20 or more hours a week are much less likely to be in higher level jobs.
- Working carers are more likely to be unqualified, and less likely to hold university degrees, than other people in employment.
For a more in depth breakdown of carer demographics, you can download the policy briefing below.