Based on a new methodology which accounts for the apprentice National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate, there were 236,000 jobs with pay less than the NMW held by employees aged 16 and over in April 2014. This constituted 0.9% of UK employee jobs
There were 9,000 jobs held by 16 to 17-year-olds (2.7% of jobs in this age group) with pay less than the NMW
For 18 to 20-year-olds, there were 31,000 jobs (2.9% of jobs in this age group) with pay less than the NMW
For employees aged 21 and over, there were 196,000 jobs (0.8% of jobs in this age group) with pay less than the NMW
Based on the previous methodology, which did not account for the apprentice NMW rate, there were 309,000 jobs (1.2% of UK employee jobs) with pay less than the NMW held by employees aged 16 and over in April 2014. This is up from 280,000 (1.1% of jobs) in April 2013
This release presents statistics on the number of jobs with pay less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in the UK. Accompanying reference tables (151 Kb Excel sheet) showing low pay estimates by sex, full-time, part-time, age, region, occupation and industry are available on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website. The statistics are based on data from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). More information on ASHE can be found on the ONS website.
The NMW is a minimum amount per hour that most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid. There are different rates of NMW depending on a worker's age and whether they are an apprentice. In April 2014 the NMW rates were: £6.31 for employees aged 21 and over; £5.03 for employees aged 18 to 20; £3.72 for employees aged 16 to 17; and £2.68 for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in the first year of their apprenticeship.
The headline low pay estimates for 2014 are the first in a new series. For the first time the estimates reflect the differences between apprentices and non-apprentices in their entitlement to the NMW. In previous years it was not possible to identify apprentices in the ASHE data and thus establish to which NMW rate they were entitled. This meant that all apprentice jobs with pay below the non-apprentice NMW rates were included in the low pay estimate, whether or not their earnings were actually above the apprentice NMW rate. Consequently, estimates for the number of jobs paid below the NMW prior to 2014 are significantly higher than, and not directly comparable with, the headline 2014 estimates.Back to table of contents
The proportion of jobs with pay less than the NMW varies by age group, reflecting the different NMW rates (see Figure 1). In April 2014 there were 236,000 jobs with pay less than the NMW held by people aged 16 and over, which constituted 0.9% of UK employee jobs. For 16 to 17-year-olds, 2.7% of jobs in this age group had pay less than the relevant NMW rate; for 18 to 20-year-olds, the proportion was 2.9% and for employees aged 21 and over, the proportion was 0.8%.Back to table of contents
Employees in part-time work were more likely than those in full-time work to be paid less than the NMW, with 1.3% of part-time jobs and 0.7% of full-time jobs falling below the NMW in April 2014 (Figure 2). Jobs held by women were more likely to be paid less than the NMW than jobs held by men (1.0% compared with 0.8%). This is consistent with the fact that a greater proportion of women work part-time than men.Back to table of contents
In April 2014 the region with the highest proportion of low paid jobs was Northern Ireland, where 2.2% of jobs were paid below the NMW (Figure 3). The next highest was the North East, with 1.2% of jobs paid below the NMW. The lowest proportions of jobs below the NMW were in Scotland (0.5%) and London and the South East (both at 0.7%).Back to table of contents
The occupation group with the highest proportion of low paid jobs was elementary occupations, in which 2.1% of jobs were paid below the NMW in April 2014 (Figure 4). Examples of elementary occupations are bar staff, waiters/waitresses and a range of elementary administrative, service and construction occupations. The lowest proportions were in professional occupations (0.2%) and associate professional and technical occupations (0.5%).Back to table of contents
In order to allow comparisons with previous years, ONS has produced a second set of low pay estimates for 2014 which are consistent with the methodology that was applied in previous years (i.e. not accounting for the apprentice rate). These show that in April 2014, on the same basis as previous years’ estimates, there were 309,000 jobs in the UK with earnings below the NMW, an increase of 29,000 compared with April 2013.
Historically, the proportion of jobs in the UK with pay below the NMW has remained relatively stable, at around 1.1% (Figure 5). In the last 10 years the lowest proportion was in 2009, when 0.9% of jobs were below the NMW, while the current figure, 1.2% (based on the previous methodology), is the joint highest (it was the same in 2005 and 2006). Over this period the proportion of full-time employees with pay below the NMW has also remained fairly stable, at around 0.8%, with a slight increase in the last two years, to 1.1% in 2014. In contrast, the proportion for part-time employees has followed an overall downward trend, from 2.1% in 2005 to 1.4% in 2014.Back to table of contents
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