Minimum stay: Understanding how long people remain on the minimum wage

Britain’s growing minimum wage workforce includes 320,000 people who have been trapped on the lowest rung of the pay ladder for five years or more. Minimum Stay shows that 17 per cent of all those currently earning the minimum wage or up to 25p an hour above it, have only ever held jobs at this pay level when they have been employed in the last five years. Over the last 10 years, 140,000 workers (7 per cent of all minimum wage workers) have not earned more than 25 pence above the minimum wage. 90,000 workers have never earned more than 25 pence above the minimum wage in the 13 years since it was introduced in 1999.

The report also investigates the profile of those workers. It finds that the overwhelming majority of those who have stayed in minimum wage work are women. Around 62 per cent of all minimum wage workers are women – yet women make up almost three-quarters (73 per cent – 230,000 workers) of those trapped in minimum wage work for the last five years. Among those who have only had minimum wage jobs in the last ten years, almost four in five (79 per cent – 110,000 workers) are women.