Analysis published by the Office of National Statistics this week reveals the large number of UK jobs that in 2014 paid less than the Living Wage (at that time £7.65 per hour outside London*). ONS have produced a handy map below, which breaks down the number of jobs that do not pay enough to live on, by area.
You can see that in Birmingham, almost a quarter (24.7%) of all employee jobs are below the Living Wage – slightly above the outside-London average of 23%.
This matters because a Living Wage is an hourly rate that actually leaves people with enough money to pay for basic necessities – if almost 1 in 4 jobs is not providing that minimum income, it doesn’t bode well for our city. Read more about what the Living Wage is, and why it is important.
And Birmingham is not the worst location for low-pay – 5.9 million jobs across the UK don’t pay the Living Wage, and in some locations over 40% of jobs pay below the Living Wage. And because different inequalities often go hand-in-hand, these low-paid jobs disproportionately affect female workers: 29% of female jobs outside-London pay below the Living Wage, compared with 18% for men.
The minimum wage is set to increase in 2016 to £7.20 – a welcome rise that will help some people, but will not apply to under 25s. This is a problem, because 58% of outside-London jobs for 18-25 year olds pay less than the Living Wage, making them by far the biggest age-group receiving low-pay.
All of this shows that working for Fair Pay for All is as important as ever. Why not check which companies are registered ‘Living Wage Employers’, and support those who pay fair. And you can always pop into Peace Hub to find out more.
* Why do you keep referring to ‘outside-London’?
The cost of living in London is much higher than in other parts of the UK, and so a separate Living Wage is calculated for inside-London and outside-London, based on the relative cost of housing, childcare and basic necessities.