The number of men in low-paid part-time work has increased fourfold over the past 20 years. New research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that one in five low-paid men aged 25-55 now work part time.
Whilst 95% of top earners normally work full time, 20% of the lowest paid are working part time, meaning that wage inequality for men has risen over two decades, but for women the case is the opposite.
Most women now have a better education than they did many years ago, and therefore have moved into full time jobs. Therefore, their pay has improved and there is less incentive for them to leave the workforce.
However, the research does not reveal why increasing numbers of low-paid men are working part-time. Jonathon Cribb, senior research economist at IFS and the author of the report said, “To understand the drivers of inequality in the UK it is vital to understand the growing association between low hourly wages and low hours of work among men”.
There are two schools of thought about this, it may be that increasing numbers of men want to work part time however, this seems unlikely.
The second theory is based on the sectors where these low-paid jobs are found, 6 out of 10 of them are in the retail, wholesale and hospitality sectors. This might suggest that men who previously worked in low-paid but secure full time jobs in sectors such as manufacturing, have lost that type of employment. Therefore, suggesting that they have been forced into working in the traditionally poorly paid and less secure services sector of the economy. Yet these are the sectors of the economy that have traditionally employed large numbers of poorly paid and part-time female workers.