TUC highlights pay gap between young and old

Young People


The pay gap between young and older workers has increased by more than half in the last 20 years, according to a new report published by the TUC.

The report shows that in 1998 the pay gap between over 30s and under 30s was 14.5%. However, in 2017 it had widened to 21.9%.

The generational pay gap has increased in real terms from £3,140 in 1998 to £5,884 in 2017 for someone working a 40-hour week. It has grown by £2,744 over the last two decades.

The TUC report reveals that young workers are increasingly likely to be concentrated in low-paid, low-skilled sectors, with few opportunities for progression.

More than a third (36.1%) of under-30s are currently work in caring, sales or elementary occupations, compared to just over a quarter (25.8%) of over-30s, says the TUC.

It adds that the number of 21-30 year-olds working in low-paid industries like private social care (+104%) and hotels and restaurants (+80%) has shot up since 1998, even though today’s young workers are the most qualified generation ever.

A survey conducted for the report shows:

  • Just 3 in 10 (31%) have felt that their current job makes the most of their experience and qualifications.
  • 4 in 10 (38%) have had few or no training opportunities in the last year
  • 1 in 5 (21%) have worked on a zero-hours contract in the last five years
  • Nearly a quarter have struggled to earn enough to pay basic living costs, and 1 in 5 have skipped a main meal to make ends meet in the last year.
  • Because of concerns about finances: 22% have put off starting a family and 41% have put off buying or moving home.

The TUC is launching a pilot version of a new app – WorkSmart – described as a career coaching app that helps young people to identify their strengths and weaknesses so they can progress at work and helps build relationships with co-workers as well as informing them about their rights.

The project has been in development for two years and aims to develop a model of trade unionism better-suited to a new generation of workers.

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