One in six UK workers is in a low-paid job – a record number, according to new research from a think tank.
The Resolution Foundation has found that 5.2 million UK workers are in low-paid jobs. That figure increased by 250,000 last year.
Low-paid jobs are classed as those paying less than two-thirds of the median hourly pay, which works out at £7.69 an hour.
The think tank attributes the increase in low-paid work to employment growth.
The research makes the case for a Living Wage increasingly complex, as employers with low-paid staff struggle to balance pressure to increase hourly wages with being able to afford taking on more staff.
Businesses are likely to face increased public pressure to increase the wages of their lowest-paid staff off the back of these figures.
The Resolution Foundation also notes that the previous year it conducted its research there had been a fall in low-paid work, making the increase in low-paid jobs starker.
Last week research from Xpert HR found that most people will not see their wages increase in real terms next year, as pay rises are expected to be below the rate of inflation.
The Resolution Foundation’s chief economist, Matthew Whittaker, said: “While recent months have brought much welcome news on the number of people moving into employment, the squeeze on real earnings continues.
“While low pay is likely to be better than no pay at all, it’s troubling that the number of low-paid workers across Britain reached a record high last year.”
The think tank’s research also found that almost one in four Brits who are on minimum wage have been on minimum wage for the past five years.
Whittaker added: “”Being low paid – and getting stuck there for years on end – creates not only immediate financial pressures, but can permanently affect people’s career prospects.
“A growing rump of low-paid jobs also presents a financial headache for the government because it fails to boost the tax take and raises the benefits bill for working people.”
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