Key workers “paid 8% less than average”

Philip Aldrick Economics Editor The Times 23 April 2020

Britain’s key workers earn 8 per cent less on average than other employees, according to research.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said that members of the group were similar to the rest of the workforce in age and education but more likely to be lower-paid and female.

Key workers include doctors, nurses, carers, social workers, teachers, prison officers, binmen and those in the food industry, and cover 7.1 million people, or almost a fifth of UK jobs. The government has asked them to continue working to keep essential services going.

The IFS analysis shows that in 2010 their wages were 5 per cent lower than those of similar non-key workers. The think tank said that last year the wage gap was “around 9 per cent after taking differences in their characteristics into account”.

The group earns an average of £12.26 an hour, 8 per cent less than the £13.26 an hour average of other workers. A third of key workers earn £10 an hour or less, below the long-term target for the national living wage, the IFS said.

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