Escape Plan: Understanding who progresses from low pay and who gets stuck

Our findings highlight that employees can move into higher paying roles but escaping completely from low pay is more difficult. Overall, the evidence presented in the report suggests that employers and government do have scope to develop the progression prospects of low paid staff. While much is already being done, there are particular groups of people – part-timers, single parents, employees outside of large companies – who are not feeling the benefits.

The report argues that employers and government alike should review their policies and approaches to pay progression to ensure that this large part of the UK’s workforce is not denied the opportunity to move up in work. But the research also revealed that in many ways, progression is just one part of the wider low pay story, with small wage increases for perceived significant increases in responsibility discouraging many from moving off the first rung.