Archive for July 2012

We're solving the pay gap - the wrong way

Date: 30. July 2012
Gavin Kelly

This post originally appeared on Gavin's New Statesman blog

One of the longest-running campaigns in modern British politics is that for equal pay. As many have pointed out it's over 40 years since the Equal Pay Act yet the gender gap still persists. The good news is progress - even if it is all too slow - is being made. The bad news is that the reason that progress is being made is due to male wages stagnating.

But first, let's pause on what we mean by the "gap". Typically the headline measure used (favoured by the ONS) is that between full-time male and female median pay - that is, typical full time wages (others argue that the "mean" wage should be used as this captures big gender inequalities at the top of the earnings spectrum). But any headline figure cloaks the reality that if you segment the jobs market by age, occupation, or income a different story emerges about pay inequality.

 

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Coalition politics? It's the art of the impossible

Date: 16. July 2012
Gavin Kelly

Last week's failure on Lords reform has generated much frothy end-of-term speculation that this could be the issue that triggers the eventual downfall of the coalition. Which doesn't tell you much, apart from the fact that many in Westminster clearly need a holiday. As Jackie Ashley pointed out in the Guardian on Sunday, neither David Cameron nor Nick Clegg are likely to be willing to see the coalition collapse over this issue. 

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Back to work? Not if you’re an older carer

Date: 12. July 2012
Giselle Cory

This blog originally appeared on Public Finance

The government’s ambition to extend working lives is coming into direct conflict with the extra caring responsibilities imposed on middle-aged people

Last night’s BBC One programme, The Town That Never Retired, sent 70-year-olds back to work. Some fell back in love with work, while others found themselves unable to do the jobs they used to do. While mid-70s might be a bit of an extreme working age for some, the rise in the state pension age and other pressures make working at least into your mid-60s a very real prospect for many. But without social care reform, many will be locked out the labour market.

More than half of Britons say they want to continue working after state pension age. This is in part because they enjoy the sense of identity they get from the workplace and because many households recognise the growing financial need to work for longer. Older workers are increasingly important for maintaining and bolstering living standards for low to middle income households.

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Up-skilling the middle

Date: 4. July 2012

Successive governments have certainly placed skills policy at the heart of strategies to raise living standards and tackle low pay. Yet now there are growing doubts about whether upskilling workers will be enough to bring about genuine improvements in the living conditions of people currently on low to middle incomes (LMIs). In a new paper for the Commission on Living Standards, hosted by the Resolution Foundation, I re-examine the links between skills, the changing labour market and wages, arguing that in the long run, skills policy has a crucial role to play in equipping LMIs to thrive in the modern labour market.

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