Are low-paid jobs necessary in all sectors?
As businesses across the economy struggle with skills shortages and seek to improve productivity, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC’s) latest research looks at the motivations of low-paid workers in the UK.
The report, called Getting On: What pay and progression looks like for low-paid workers today, gives an insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by people in low-paid jobs within the hospitality, care, industrial and retail sectors.
Whilst the reasons people undertake low-paid work are specific to their personal circumstances and personal career ambitions, this report reveals how low-paid jobs can offer opportunities for people at various transition points in their lives, including:
- Young people entering the jobs market who need to support themselves through study, or who are seeking work experience in preparation for future higher-level positions.
- People looking to progress in their careers, who use low-paid positions to help them get industry specific experience or skills to facilitate the prospects of promotion into a supervisory or management role.
- Unemployed people seeking to get back into work, who often find these roles easier to acquire because employers are looking for a positive attitude and personality rather than recent qualifications or previous experience.
The report highlights key challenges facing people in these kinds of jobs, including: long hours, limited access to training, unclear routes for progression, monotonous work, and a lack of feedback from employers.
REC chief executive Kevin Green said:
“We often hear low-paid work described as ‘bad jobs’, but this is not justified. Low-paid work is necessary in many sectors and for a lot of people it offers the opportunity to build up skills and experience.
“The government has been keen to improve conditions for low-paid workers via the introduction of the National Living Wage. For many employers there is a need to improve engagement, performance and productivity. More broadly, this is about motivating your staff effectively. Businesses need to provide a good working environment, excellent management and chances to develop new skills.
“Investment in training is a win-win for employers and low-paid workers, particularly in sectors that have skill shortages. Our message to government is that providing development opportunities to people already in work is critical. And alongside this, we need major improvements to the careers advice that young people receive in schools and at Jobcentres.
“If the public sector can’t fund this, then government should look to partner with private sector organisations including in the recruitment sector. This is especially important in vital areas such as care, so that the career pathway is visible and attractive to people who are considering where they want to work.”
Getting On: What pay and progression looks like for low-paid workers today has been launched as part of ‘Jobs Transform Lives’, a campaign to raise awareness of the role that recruiters play in helping millions of people in the UK to find the right job every year.