‘Generational pay gap’ in the East of England has more than doubled in last 20 years, warns TUC

Jordan Holder, Enterprise Coordinator - The Careers & Enterprise Company. Picture: Chathams Chaps Lt

Jordan Holder, Enterprise Coordinator - The Careers & Enterprise Company. Picture: Chathams Chaps Ltd - Credit: Archant

If you’re under 30, you may well be earning substantially less money than the older generation - and the pay gap is still widening

Sam Gurney of the TUC. Picture: Jess Hurd

Sam Gurney of the TUC. Picture: Jess Hurd - Credit: Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk

The pay gap between under-30s and over-30s in the East of England has widened and is now 21.6%, compared to 9.5% in 1998.

The pay gap between young and older workers in the East of England has increased by half in the last 20 years, according to a new analysis published this week by the TUC.

The report shows that in 1998 the pay gap between over-30s and under-30s in the region was 9.5% (£1.06 an hour in 2017 prices). However, in 2017 it had widened to 21.6% (£2.64 an hour). The generational pay gap has increased in real terms from £2,205 in 1998 to £5,491 in 2017 for someone working a 40-hour week.

The reason for the pay disparity may be the types of jobs that young people are undertaking. Nationally, more than a third (36.1%) of under-30s currently work in caring, sales or elementary occupations, compared to just over a quarter (25.8%) of over-30s. The number of 21-30 year-olds working in low-paid industries like private social care (+104%) and hotels and restaurants (+80%) has shot up since 1998, even though today’s young workers are the most qualified generation ever.

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TUC Regional Secretary for the East of England Sam Gurney said: “Young people are getting a raw deal at work. Too many are stuck in low paid, insecure jobs, with little opportunity to get on in life.

“This is the most qualified group of workers ever. But huge numbers of hardworking young people are struggling to meet basic living costs.”

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Jordan Holder is a 22 year-old who works as enterprise coordinator for The Careers & Enterprise Company in Ipswich, where the problem of social mobility for young people is particularly acute. “Despite being the most qualified generation ever, we are facing setbacks like no other: temporary contacts, the gig economy, social mobility, job insecurity and never being able to get an “affordable” home,” he said. “It’s well known that across the East of England, there are low-paid and low-skilled roles. However, this does not make it acceptable for highly qualified young people to be paid less than older counterparts who are doing the same role.”

Mr Holder points out that not having a secure job also puts young people at the bottom of the pile to get an affordable home. He said: “With the average house price in the UK sitting over £300,000 it is out of the question for many young people to afford their own home, and are they are then stuck in the renting cycle.

“It’s no wonder that Suffolk-based business, Zedbox, exists - it’s a studio apartment for your garden and offers young people independence while living at home.”

Mr Holder believes that lifelong learning is the key for young people to earn a bigger pay packet. “To earn more, you need to learn more, whether this be through on the job training, apprenticeships, or traditional routes such as University and professional courses.”

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