29% of women paid less than the living wage

Pay rise-2015

More than a quarter (29%) of jobs for female employees in the UK paid less than the living wage in 2014, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This figure fell to 22% in London, but remains higher than the percentage of male employee jobs that paid less than the living wage, which came in at 16% in London and 18% in the rest of the UK.

The ONS research also found:

  • Around six million jobs paid less than the living wage in the UK in 2014.
  • More than half (58%) of jobs for employees aged 18-24 were paid less than the living wage in the UK. This compares to 48% in London.
  • Northern Ireland had the highest rate of jobs that paid below the living wage in 2014 (29%). At 19%, the lowest proportion of jobs paying below the living wage were found in London, Scotland and South East England.
  • Outside of London, the proportion of jobs paying less than the living wage increased from 21% in April 2012 to 23% in April 2014.

The living wage is a voluntary rate recommended by the Living Wage Foundation, and distinct from the national living wage announced by the government in the Summer Budget 2015. The London living wage is calculated by the Greater London Authority, and the out of London living wage rate is calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, both of which are designed to cover the basic cost of living in the UK.

Average pay increases in August 2015

According to the ONS UK labour market, October 2015 report, average regular pay excluding bonuses was £463 a week before tax and other deductions in August 2015, and £494 a week inclusive of bonuses.

Total pay (including bonuses) increased by 3% between June and August 2014 and June and August 2015, while regular pay grew by 2.8%.

In real terms (adjusted for consumer price inflation), total pay for June-August 2015 increased by 2.9% compared to the corresponding period in 2014 and regular pay improved by 2.7%.

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Dean Turner, economist at UBS Wealth Management, said: “Although marginally weaker than expected, the wage numbers remain encouraging on two fronts. Firstly, rising wages boost household incomes, already growing at 3% year-on-year in real terms through the second quarter, which should continue to support consumption.

“Secondly, rising wages, and therefore input costs for firms, suggest that the current period of low (de)-flation the UK is experiencing should prove to be temporary. The threat of a prolonged period of deflation is low.”