UK: New jobs ‘are in low-paid industries’ says TUC

TUC says new jobs are low-paid

TUC says new jobs are low-paid - Credit: PA

Four in five new jobs are in industries where the average wage is less than £8 an hour, the TUC said today.

Some 79% of the 587,000 net rise in jobs since June 2010 has come in low-paid industries such as retail and residential care, the organisation said.

Low-paid industries are defined as those where the average hourly wage is £7.95 or lower. In high-paid industries, the average hourly wage is £17.40 or higher.

The TUC’s report The UK’s Low Pay Recovery, which analyses official figures, finds that retail has made the biggest contribution to rising employment levels, with the number of jobs in this sector increasing by 234,000.

The average wage in retail is just £7.35 an hour, the TUC says, while residential care, where the average wage is £7.78 per hour, makes the second biggest contribution of 155,000 jobs.


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Just over one in five (23%) of new jobs created since June 2010 have been in the highly paid computer programming, consultancy and related services industry, where the average hourly wage is £18.40. The workforce in this sector has grown by 131,000.

In middle-paid industries, which account for nearly three-quarters of the UK workforce and where the average wage is between £7.95 and £17.40 per hour, there has been no net job creation since June 2010.

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While some industries, such as legal and accounting, have created jobs (135,000), others such as public administration (-160,000) and social work (-68,000) have shed them.

The TUC said it was concerned that the overwhelming majority of new jobs have been created in low-paid sectors, with many workers having to take a big drop in their salaries and stall their careers in order to stay in work.

General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Government frequently boasts about record levels of employment, even though people’s job chances have fallen in recent months.

“But what’s more concerning is that four in five new jobs are in industries where the average wage is less than £8 an hour.

“One of the unreported struggles of recent years has been people being made redundant from middle-income jobs and having to take low-paid, low-skill jobs as it’s the only work available.

“Many people who are forced into low-paid work are not only having to take a massive financial hit, but are having to put their careers on hold. This trading down of jobs can also push those with lower skills and less experience, particularly young people, out of work altogether. This is tough for workers and damaging for the wider economy.

“Well paid, highly skilled jobs need to be at the heart of our recovery but this won’t happen without government intervention to get our economy growing. We need a proper industrial policy to support growth in key sectors from high value manufacturing and renewable energy, to the creative industries.”

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