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Average earnings still lower than before the Financial Crisis

Real average earnings are still £13 a week lower than they were a decade ago, according to new research by the Resolution Foundation.

Despite recent government figures showing employment at a record high in Britain, the think tank has warned many disadvantaged groups still face significant ‘employment gaps’ and need targeted support to help them get back to work.

The research also claims that the poorest third of households account for over half of all jobs created since the financial crisis of 2008/9.

According to the research, employment across the bottom third of households has increased by over 1.2 million since the crisis. Those in the middle third have experienced the smallest employment gains, (360,000), while those in the top third fared marginally better (540,000).

And it estimates around 800,000 workers around the country are currently on zero-hours contracts. It adds that Britain’s impressive jobs record contrasts with its dire performance on pay, with real average earnings still £13 a week lower than they were a decade ago.

The analysis shows that as well as benefitting lower-income households, employment growth over the last decade has particularly helped those who have traditionally struggled to find work.

Ethnic minority workers have accounted for 47% of the increase in employment, those with low-level qualifications 43%, and those with disabilities 32%.

‘Lower income families have accounted for the majority of Britain’s jobs growth, showing that pushing for full employment can boost living standards,’ said senior economic analyst, Stephen Clarke.

‘But while employment is at a record high, Britain is still some way off full employment and too much work remains low paid and insecure. With fewer than half of people with a disability or ill-health currently in work, targeted support for these groups holds the key to achieving further employment progress.

‘Steps to provide advance notice of shifts and a right to a regular contract for those working regular hours on a zero-hour contract would also help those in work who have precious little job security,’ added Mr Clarke.

Commenting on the research, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said the Government is ‘turning a blind eye to Britain’s living standards crisis’.

‘Ministers must get wages rising faster now,’ she added.

For more information about the Resolution Foundation’s new research, visit their website.

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