Counting the hours

The pay of Britain’s workers has rarely been out of the news in the past decade. The unprecedented squeeze on earnings that followed the financial crisis, a new minimum wage for those 25 and over, and the arrival of the “top 1 per cent” in the years leading up to the financial crisis have all rightly grabbed headlines. Another area of concern has been the idea that the UK is experiencing a ‘hollowing’ out of the pay distribution as offshoring and automation diminish the number of mid-paid jobs. Counting the Hours presents new research that shows that some hollowing out has occurred, but only in relation to men. Furthermore this hollowing out, rather than being driven by occupational change, is primarily the result of significant changes in the hours worked by men. The result is that this hollowing out is clearly seen in the weekly, but not the hourly, earnings distribution; between 1997 and 2016 the share of male employees earning at or around the typical male weekly wage fell by approximately 15 per cent.

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