Real wages are rising - if you've got a career not a job

A report from the Resolution Foundation suggests that pay is on the up at last - but only for those who have stayed in full-time jobs.

by Andrew Saunders

Workers in full-time employment actually enjoyed a pay rise of 0.1% for the first half of this year, says independent think tank The Resolution Foundation. Alright it’s not much, but it is better than the 0.8% fall recorded by the official ONS figures.

The disparity is down to flawed assumptions, says the report. The ONS measure of wage growth is unduly pessimistic because it fails to take into account the rise in low-paid (and typically low-skilled) part-time employment. Adjusted for this, wages for those in full-time work actually grew slightly. The level of qualifications held by those full-timers is also apparently rising, adding pressure to the upward pay trend.

It’s an interesting finding, not least because it sheds some light on why consumer confidence is climbing despite the string of gloomy claims about broader wage stagnation. It also seems to suggest that getting on the career ladder is more important than ever, especially for young people. For those lucky/talented/hard-working enough to land themselves a decent job and stick at it, career progression is alive and well it seems.

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