Low pay Britain 2017


This is our seventh annual report on the prevalence of low pay in Britain. It uses the latest data available (April 2016) to map out the scale of low pay and the groups that are most affected. With government due to publish its industrial strategy soon, including a major focus on low-paying but high-employing sectors like retail and hospitality would be an encouraging next step. Incentives for management training would help the low-paid as well as – potentially – productivity. This should be part of a concerted effort to move away from a low-pay, low-skill business model.

Offering people routes out of zero-hours contracts or highly variable shift patterns after a duration is needed and legislation could be considered as government prepares its response to the Taylor Review. Action cannot come solely from government however. With existing skills gaps unlikely to ease in the context of a tight labour market and in the wake of potentially lower EU migration following Brexit, offering more training opportunities makes sense for employers too. Providing more routes to progress – for example by not restricting jobs solely to graduates – would be a straightforward way of doing this.

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