Young men today earn an average of £12,500 less during their 20s than the generation before them, according to a new study published on Thursday.
Research conducted by the Resolution Foundation think tank, which aims to improve the living standards of Briton’s on low to middle incomes, shows that so-called millennials are earnings less than their Generation X peers during every year between the ages of 22 to 30, resulting in a cumulative pay deficit of £12,500.
By contrast the research shows that women’s pay has stayed broadly the same during that age between generations. Effectively, the group says, we’ve seen a narrowing of the gender pay gap for millennials, “but for the wrong reasons”.
Millennials are broadly defined as those born between 1981 and 2000. Generation X refers to those born between 1966 and 1980.
The Foundation says that the decline in men’s pay is a function of a shift towards lower-skilled jobs, often done part-time.
“Both men and women have been affected by a reduction in some traditional mid-skilled occupations over the last two decades, with a 40 per cent fall in young men who are 22 to 35 doing routine manufacturing jobs and a 66 per cent reduction in the number of young women working in secretarial roles,” they write.
“But while employment growth amongst women has been overwhelmingly transferred into higher-skilled jobs, for men the growth is much more evenly split between higher and lower paying occupations.”
In fact, the research shows that the proportion of young men doing low-paid work increased by around 45 per cent between 1993 and last year.
The number of young men in retail jobs has almost doubled in that time, from 85,000 to 165,000. By contrast, the number of young women doing these jobs has fallen over that period, even though women are still significantly more likely to work in retail than men, the Foundation says.
They write that the number of young men working in bars and restaurants has trebled from 45,000 to 130,000 since 1993.
The gender pay gap among millennials has also been exacerbated by the rise in popularity of part time work, the study shows.
Since 1993 the number of men aged 22 to 35 working part-time in the lowest paid occupations, like basic admin, service and sales, has increased four-fold. Once again, the number of young women working in those equivalent jobs also part-time has actually fallen.
“The long-held belief that each generation should do better than the last is under threat. Millennials today are the first to earn less than their predecessors,” says Torsten Bell, executive director at the Resolution Foundation.
He adds, however, that the fact that more women are moving into higher-skilled roles “is welcome and suggests that the disruptive force of automation has met its match in the forward march of education and feminism”.
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