Manager 'Jealous' of Friend Earning a Higher Salary for Similar Job Slammed

A nursery manager in the U.K. who questioned whether they're unreasonable for being "jealous" that their nursery teacher friend allegedly earns more has sparked a debate on Mumsnet.

Several users defended the friend, claiming the original poster's nursery manager role "is not the same" as the friend's nursery teacher position.

In a post shared under the username Nurseryh on Mumsnet's Am I Being Unreasonable (AIBU) forum, the nursery manager, who has been in the job for two years, said they earn £23,000 a year (around $27,756) and claimed their "nursery teacher friend is on more" than them.

Nurseryh wrote: "My friend is a nursery teacher and comparing wages, I'm shocked. After having a chat, we literally do similar things. I feel a bit put off by it but I suppose I'm the stupid one for not qualifying.

A preschool teach with students in classroom.
A preschool teacher with her students in a classroom. Mumsnet users criticized a nursery manager who was "shocked" to be earning "so much less for literally the same job" as a nursery teacher. iStock/Getty Images Plus

"What is it with the UK government and loving to have staff on the cheap? Why am I on so much less for literally the same job apart from the different name??," the user asked.

In a series of later posts, the nursery manager said: "I feel my pay is pittance when compared to hers for the same job," explaining the user has "all the childcare qualifications and years of nursery experience," but just not the teaching qualifications.

Acknowledging that they "should get qualified," the original poster said: "It just shocks me how the private sector can be so different. Because it's still seeing childcare as 'pay on the cheap'.

"I don't understand why the pay in private sectors can't be clamped down on by the government; private sector pay needs a rethink I think," the nursery manager explained.

According to the U.K. National Careers Service, nursery managers run "early years childcare centers, providing day care for babies and young children from birth to five years," while nursery teachers (also known as an early years teacher) are described as "specialists in early childhood development" who work with children up to age five.

The average salary for a nursery manager in the U.K. ranges from £23,000 to £32,000, while that of a nursery teacher ranges from £25,714 to £36,961, according to the country's National Careers Service.

Over in the U.S., the 2021 median pay for preschool teachers, which is "the wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less," was reported to be $30,210 per year, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey.

Preschool teachers are defined as teachers who "educate and care for children younger than age five who have not yet entered kindergarten," according to the BLS survey.

Several users criticized the nursery manager in the latest Mumsnet post, with many highlighting the fact that the nursery teacher friend is "qualified" because she went through years of schooling.

User ClassSize2022 explained "your friend went and got qualified. Unfortunately those who do not have qualifications often get paid less. It takes time to study. Maybe you can do that now? And you might end up on even more!"

'Not the Same Job'

Testina said: "It's not the same job. She's a qualified teacher," while user Itisasecret agreed, noting: "So she's a qualified teacher (4 years of study and about 60k [60,000] debt). That's the difference...."

Ggu said: "I don't think it's the same job," explaining: "There aren't many aspects of line management in teaching roles whereas that's (almost always) the majority of the responsibility for a nursery manager."

KylieCharlene explained: "You are responsible for the running of the place but your friend is responsible for the children's development..."

User EV117 was more diplomatic, stating: "The job may sound like it entails the same but I'm not convinced. Like you say the teacher earns more, that's more expensive for the nursery or the school it is attached to. There will be a reason they are willing to pay more."

User Sciurus83 was more sympathetic towards the original poster, noting: "Pay for staff in nurseries is an absolute disgrace. The sector is in crisis and I really hope things get better for you and your colleagues."

Newsweek has contacted the original poster, Nurseryh, for comment.