What are considered ‘low wage’ jobs? Many would immediately point out that they involve fast food, janitorial positions, and other basic customer support opportunities, including in home care aides.
Low wage jobs are those that pay around minimum wage or only slightly higher than that. Depending on the state, it could be the current federal minimum wage or on its way up to $15 per hour. Many of the men and women who work in these low wage jobs may have limited education or other employment options and feel there are simply no better options for them at this time.
Unfortunately for many of these low wage workers, the threat of being replaced by automation is real, especially when people can simply order something online and robotics can fulfill many of these orders accurately. However, within the in home care industry, the low wage caregiver jobs are not likely going anywhere.
As reported by the Vox blog, The future of work is the low wage health care job, written by Soo Oh:
“Unlike food service or retail jobs, which round out the top five growing jobs, direct care workers are not in immediate danger of being edged out by automation or internet commerce.
“I think it’s one of the most advantageous fields to be in these days. It’s one that cannot be outsourced,” Nathan Auldridge, a 33-year-old direct support provider in Salem, Virginia, said. He graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in theater, but theater work was too inconsistent.
Direct care is different: “It’s needed in every single community across the country,” he said. “Now, the pay is shit, but that’s another story. You can’t make a robot do what I do.”
Because these types of jobs can’t be outsourced, it means there will always be a need for in home care providers to assist clients with basic tasks of daily living. At the same time, though, there’s no real indication that this level of work is going to enjoy a robust increase in hourly wages anytime soon.
Even though demand is increasing and is expected to continue climbing with the Baby Boomer generation relying on more assistance now and into the future, federal Medicaid reimbursements and other financial supports are not seeing a boost and that means the men and women who fill these jobs will continue to expect low wages, and even though it’s the number one job creator in the country and is expected to remain so for many years, it may not do much for the workers seeking to climb out of these lower wage jobs.