The proportion of low-paid jobs in the UK has fallen to 14.2% in 2021, compared to 15.7% the year prior. Ten years ago, the proportion of low-paid jobs in the UK’s labour market was 21.4%, so there has been a marked increase in average wages in the last decade, which continued during 2021 despite the pandemic.
This is according to data from the Office of National Statistics Annual Earnings Survey – the gold standard of UK labour market data – who’s report has just been published.
Full-time earnings in the UK rose by the most since 2008 in April, up by 4.3% from a year earlier, although the government’s furlough scheme and other pandemic-related distortions probably enhanced this figure.
“Pay increased for most workers in 2021, but particularly those that were most affected by the pandemic in 2020, most notably younger employees, men and the lowest-paid occupations,” the ONS said.
Pay for ‘elementary occupations’ such as cleaning and labouring jobs rose by 7.7%, while pay for managers and directors showed no change.
Another factor pushing up pay at the bottom of the wage scale was a 2% rise in the minimum wage in April 2021.