Julia Hartley-Brewer: Low pay does not mean low value

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer has said she is “fed up” with people comparing the value of a job with its pay grade.

The British Medical Association’s chief officer, Dr Helena McKeown, had appeared on talkRADIO and spoken about the impact of coronavirus on those in lower-paid frontline jobs.

She said: “Men working in the lower skilled occupations have the highest rate of death, and the healthcare workers who are mainly women have an abysmal rate of death.

“What does that say about us as a society and how we have value these skills and these jobs?”

Julia argued that, though people should be treated with respect for doing valuable low-skilled jobs, it was not realistic to show value through higher wages.

She said: “You can value somebody but they don’t necessarily need to be on high pay.

“Someone can still do a job that is highly valued but isn’t necessarily something you need a lot of qualifications or specific skills to do, and therefore anyone can do it and that’s why those jobs can have a lot of competition and therefore don’t command a higher wage.

“It doesn't mean you don’t value those people.”

Dr McKeown said she was "incorrect" about the level of skill needed to be a care worker.

“It takes a lot of skill to look after a dying person when that dying person has no access to their relatives, an immense amount of skill to do that with love and with care.”

“I didn’t say it didn’t,” Julia concluded.

Watch the full interview with Dr McKeown above.

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