One in five UK workers could face the next decade in low-paid jobs

The UK is at risk of seeing one-fifth of its workforce being stuck in low-paid jobs for the next decade unless the government acts immediately, a report claims.

Nice Work If You Can Get It, by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), predicts that employers will have around 7.4 million low-skilled jobs in 2020 unless ministers persuade them to invest more in upskilling. In 2006, there were 7.4 million jobs that required no qualifications for entry.

Lisa Harker, the IPPR’s co-director, warned the government must not ignore low-paid workers as it stems the tide of job losses caused by the recession.

“Government investment is needed now to strengthen career ladders, improve workplace performance and make sure the welfare system is focused on helping people stay and progress in work,” said Harker.

“Although unemployment looks set to rise dramatically over the next 12 months, we should not forget the millions of low-paid workers doing vital work across the country,” she said.

The report concluded that the government’s drive to bolster workforce skills would do little to combat the problem of low pay unless businesses were pushed to invest more in higher-value markets, and reward skills.

Last month, the TUC called for a 37p increase in the adult national minimum wage.

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