Low pay Britain: What Living Wage?


Over one in five people, or 21%, in the UK are still earning below the real Living Wage, reveals KPMG in a new report.

An estimated 5.5 million employees in the UK are struggling with low pay and battling to get out of in-work poverty.

The real Living Wage is an independently-calculator rate based on what people need to get by. It is currently £8.75 across the UK and £10.20 in London.

This crisis unproportionally affects women and part time workers. While 26% of female employees earn less than the real Living Wage, 16% of males are affected.

Additionally, 3.1 million part-time employees earn less than the real Living Wage, compared to 2.4 million full-time workers. Part time jobs are three times more likely to pay below the real Living Wage than full-time roles.

A staggering 42% of part-time workers now earn less than the real Living Wage, compared to 13% of full-time workers. Despite part-time jobs accounting for less than one-third of all UK jobs, they represent more than 56% of jobs paying less than the real Living Wage.

Regionally, Northern Ireland, the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, Wales and the West Midlands have the highest proportion of jobs earning below the real Living Wage

However, by number of people rather than proportion, London has the highest number at around 750,000, followed by the South East and the North West.

Troublingly, many of those stuck in low paying jobs are not optimistic about the future. 78% of such employees forecast a further hike in living costs over the next year.

An additional 27% said their household finances had worsened recently, 17% said they had a decline in pay recently, and 21% said there has been a drop in job security recently.

If you are stuck in low pay, find out what help is available on our ‘In Work - On a low income’ page.