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Report warns that you can get ‘stuck’ in low pay

The Pay progression: understanding the barriers for the lowest paid‘ report, which categorises low pay as those paid below 20 per cent above the minimum wage, explains that you can become stuck in low pay. 

There has been a huge increase in the number of people on low pay between the 1990s and 2010s. In 2011, just under a quarter of all UK employees were in low pay, equating to around 7m people.

The majority of those in low pay, however, are women (64 per cent), and although this has improved since the 1990s (when women represented over 70 per cent of the low paid workforce), the data highlights that women are much less likely to escape low pay than men. 

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD said: Over most of the last six years we have seen a significant fall in real wages, with evidence showing that the UK has a high proportion of workers employed in low wage roles compared with our international competitors. 

“This research shines a light on these issues and has important implications for policy makers and employers. For policy makers, the key focus needs to be on how the supply of higher skilled jobs can be increased across the UK economy. 

“This means a focus on boosting demand for investment in skills amongst employers and improving how skills are developed and utilised in the workplace. At the same time we need much better careers advice and guidance to help young people make the right choices about qualifications and career pathways which lead to higher paying jobs, and to support older workers who want to re-train and increase their earnings potential.

For employers, there needs to be a focus on considering the untapped potential of part-time workers. Employers should also think about designing jobs which enable employees to build their skills and use them to add value for the employer as alternatives to the management track, for example, in enhanced customer service roles.  

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