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Pay gap between younger and older workers

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The pay gap between the under-30s and over-30s has risen by more than half in the last 20 years, as younger workers are still enduring the residual effects of the financial crisis.

A recent report by the TUC (the Report) highlighted that the median pay of employees aged 21 to 30 was 21.9 per cent below that of 31 to 64-year-olds in 2018. This is a 50 per cent increase in comparison to 1998, where the pay gap between over 30s and under 30s stood at 14.5 per cent.

The Report is in line with other recent findings of increased challenges for under 30s in respect of work and living conditions. Although employment rates today for under 30s are higher compared to their more senior counterparts, not as many under 30s are benefiting from big pay rises and are instead opting for security in their current positions, rather than seeking alternative, more lucrative roles. The Report also outlined an imbalance between the supply of young graduates compared to the demand for them and highlighted more limited graduate pay levels than 20 years ago.

The Report suggests that unions are partly to blame by failing to market themselves to the young, with only 10 per cent of employees aged 20 to 24 as members. The general secretary of the TUC said that unions must “listen to young workers themselves – not just the ones who are already in the unions – and also those who don’t even know what we’re about”, otherwise union representation across the UK workforce will only continue to deteriorate.