This paper explores the challenges that female elder carers in the United Kingdom face in combining paid work with elder care, and the implications of this care for their current and future working lives. In-depth interviews with 11 working women from a large organisation were conducted, and five of the women were re-interviewed after a period of one year to examine any changes in their situation. The interviews revealed the precarious nature of their daily schedules, which required constant effort to maintain, the intrusion of elder care into their working lives, and the impact it had upon their career development and future aspirations. The findings provide insight into the reasons why carers, especially women, are more likely to reduce their working hours, do not take advantage of training opportunities and retire early. The findings are discussed in relation to the expectation of an extended working age and gender equality.