Bleak trend of low, part-time wages in UK is revealed – The Guardian

Survey shows link between low hours and wages increased sharply in past 20 years, with one in five low-paid men now working part-time
Men on low pay are four times more likely to be working part-time than in the 1990s, according to a survey that illustrates the trend for low hours and wages to go together.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies said 20 years ago only one in 20 men aged 25 to 55 worked part-time with low hourly wages. Today one in five of this group works part-time.
Meanwhile the proportion of middle and high–wage men working part-time remains low at less than 1 in 20, which the thinktank said showed that earnings inequality among men had risen significantly over a single generation.
Jonathan Cribb, an IFS economist, said: “The number of low-wage men working part time has increased sharply over the past 20 years. To understand the drivers of inequality in the UK it is vital to understand the growing association between low hourly wages and low hours of work among men.”

Anti-poverty campaigners are expected to use the figures to show how men with low skills and in areas of the country with few jobs are among the worst hit by the loss of well-paid full-time employment.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has called for rules to close the gap between the highest and lowest paid as a way to tackle the soaring salaries and bonuses of company bosses.
But recent figures have shown the inequality gap getting smaller after incomes among the top fifth of earners slid while low earners continued to make progress.
The Office for National Statistics said median disposable income for the poorest fifth of households had risen by 5.1% in the year to April 2016 while the richest fifth of households saw their incomes fall by £1,000 over the same period.
However, much of the gap was closed by a significant rise in pensioner incomes driven by higher state pension payments and generous payouts from occupational schemes, not a rise in earnings by low-paid workers.
Benefits for the low paid, which until recently kept pace with inflation, have also influenced the income gap. Successive governments used tax credits and housing benefit to close the growing income deficit faced by low-paid households, though austerity cuts in recent years have reversed the trend.
Chris Belfield, an IFS economist, said: “In the past 20 years, the incomes of the top 1% have pulled further away from the rest. But across the vast majority of the population income inequality has actually fallen.
“However, in large part this is because the tax and benefit system has worked increasingly hard to offset disparities in the pay brought home by working households, and because of the catch-up of pensioners with those of working age, as well as falls in worklessness.”
The report found that men’s weekly earnings have diverged across the income scales with the hourly wages of high earners outpacing those of middle earners.
“The rise of part-time work among men on low hourly wages far predates the recession and is widespread. The trend has been occurring consistently for 20 years and is observed for low-wage men across the age spectrum, for single men and men in couples, and for those with and without children,” the report said.


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