A good year for pay?

Five things we learned from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2019


This morning the ONS published the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) for 2019 – the most detailed data on employee pay available, telling us about high and low pay, the gender pay gap, and more besides. As a think-tank focusing on raising living standards, this is pretty crucial data for us, and for … Continued

A rare political consensus has broken out over a higher minimum wage – but achieving it is far from straightforward


The politics of the minimum wage don’t exactly fit our lazy stereotypes. Back in the pre-crisis days of supposed consensus, debates raged about whether the policy was right or wrong. Today, when political divides are huge, everyone is falling over themselves to agree that a higher minimum wage is the way to go. The Chancellor … Continued

Is the minimum wage pushing people into self-employment?


Two big changes in the labour market over the past two decades have been the rise in self-employment and the introduction and uprating of the minimum wage. Is there a connection between these trends? Legally, of course, there is no connection – the minimum wage applies to employees only. But economically, we would expect one. … Continued

The national living wage has caused the biggest fall in low pay in 40 years – but how is this improving people’s living standards?


Employment is at a 40-year high, while pay is stagnating. That, in brief, sums up the last few years of changes in Britain’s labour market. As Figure 1 shows, politicians rightly highlight that employment and unemployment are undeniably trending in the right direction. But the good news on employment has failed drastically to translate into … Continued

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


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

No jobs-killer as employers take a ‘suck it and see’ approach to the National Living Wage


With all the economic and political tumult of the past couple of weeks, the launch of the National Living Wage (NLW) already feels a long time ago. But it’s only been three months since the government’s flagship labour market policy came into force. As with Brexit, we’ll need to wait before judging the full impact … Continued

The National Living Wage will bring Britain’s need for stronger productivity growth into sharp focus


After months of debate, analysis and more than a little terminological confusion, the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW) is now just five weeks away. While this substantial lifting of the wage floor for the over-24s will come as a welcome boost for the 4.5 million low paid workers set to benefit initially (rising … Continued

Matthew Whittaker

Lifting the wage floor increases the urgency for securing productivity gains


The welcome introduction of a significantly higher wage floor from April 2016 is set to boost the pay of around 6 million workers. But it will pose adaptation challenges for employers, particularly in lower paying sectors such as retail and hospitality. A simple thought exercise implies that maintaining a broad adherence to the international relationship … Continued

When it comes to the ‘National Living Wage’ being introduced to the world, it’s time for some responsible parenting


The Chancellor’s introduction of a higher minimum wage – the ‘National Living Wage’ – is a policy with competitive claims to its parentage. Announced by a Government, advocated by the official opposition, and prefigured by work from a range of experts including the Resolution Foundation. From all these and more it’s now time for some … Continued

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