Wage growth, low pay and falling hours: breaking down this year’s ASHE figures

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For labour market wonks, ‘ASHE day’ is like your birthday and Christmas rolled into one. Each year around this time, the ONS publishes a plethora of spreadsheets packed to the brim with data on how wages have performed over the last year. While there are definitely some pleasant surprises in this year’s figures, there are … Continued

Alternative paths to success? The jobs landscape facing young non-graduates today

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From photos of jumping A level students to guides to freshers’ week, at this time of year it can feel like university is the only route taken by teenagers. But in fact, fewer than half of young people follow this seemingly well-trodden path at 18. And, as this morning’s ONS publication about non-graduates’ employment patterns … Continued

Tackling the new frontiers of low pay

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Bad policies get the most attention. Whole books have been written on government interventions that achieved the exact opposite of what they intended, or eventually delivered at miles over budget. That’s why the UK’s minimum wage – effective, popular and cheap – is such a rare thing. The latest evidence confirms the minimum wage’s continued … Continued

When it comes to pay ratios, it’s time to choose meaningful medians not meaningless means

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Back in the dog days of last summer, the Government announced a package of reforms to corporate governance. Among those reforms was the welcome requirement for “listed companies… to publish pay ratios between chief executives and their average UK worker”. On the back of gender pay gap reporting and the commitment to transparency expressed in … Continued

The Autumn Budget 2017 brings worse than hoped for news for the low paid

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or many people, the big news out of November’s Budget – a massive downgrade in the outlook for productivity growth – will sound a bit abstract. The productivity downgrade has made the Chancellor’s task of balancing the books harder. But its impact on pay – with average annual earnings lowered by £1,000 – mean it’s even … Continued

We need to put the changing world of work back in the spotlight

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Angst over diminishing attention spans is widespread these days, with the reaction to Twitter’s expansion to 280 characters a case in point. That’s long been true in politics: even the most important of issues need a regular drumbeat to maintain public interest. And it certainly applies to the problems highlighted by the Taylor Review of … Continued

The latest on low pay

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To paraphrase the great Yogi Berra, making predictions is hard. That’s especially true of the future of the UK’s labour market. After all, the current combination of record high employment and falling real wages is not a forecast many economists would’ve made even a couple of years ago. But new Annual Survey of Hours and … Continued

A tale of two Scottish economies

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Imagine two economies. One has just announced strong economic growth, well ahead of the UK. Over time it’s become more productive relative to the UK and unemployment is as low as it’s been for decades. Then imagine another, in which GDP fell two quarters ago sparking fears of recession. In contrast to record employment across … Continued

We can work it out? The jobs challenge facing the Liverpool City Region’s mayor

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Although June’s election will dominate the headlines over the next month and a half, voters in some of England’s biggest cities will go to the polls in two weeks to elect Metro Mayors. Like all the city regions voting on a Mayor, the Liverpool City Region (LCR) – comprised of the local authorities of Halton, … Continued

Workers on zero hours contracts hits a record high – but have they reached their peak?

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Workers on zero hours contracts hits a record high – but have they reached their peak? The UK’s labour market has been full of surprises in recent years: record employment has run alongside a record pay squeeze, while the passing away of the ‘job for life’ has been matched by a fall in people moving … Continued

Is self-employment Taylor-made for people with disabilities?

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Whatever your job, it’s been hard to escape self-employment lately. Whether it’s plumbers, couriers or drivers, the pros and cons of working for yourself have rarely been far from the headlines. The Taylor Review of modern employment practices has kept the flame burning, with its recommendations likely to have consequences for all sorts of workers … Continued

How did firms pay for the big pay rise in 2016? Through productivity and price rises, not job losses

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2016 marked the introduction of a big, controversial new player on the political economy scene, whose influence is set to grow and grow over the next four years. No, this isn’t a blog about President-Elect Trump. For millions of low earners across the UK, another development has had an even bigger impact. The National Living … Continued

Britain’s self-employed workforce is growing – but their earnings have been heading in the other direction

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When people talk about “the self-employed”, there are a few images that spring to mind. Maybe it’s a white van man, someone running a small business or a freelance consultant. The growth of self-employment over the past decade and a half has been astounding. The 45 per cent growth since the turn of the turn … Continued

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