Pay squeeze hits ethnic minorities, young and women most, says CBI

Guardian (UK) |

The young, minority-ethnic groups and people without advanced skills are missing out on the recovery of the jobs market, and women are still getting a raw deal on pay, according to a report published today by the CBI, Britain's leading business group. The CBI says its research into who has lost out most since the downturn indicates that personal background still has too much influence on prospects. The group has called for politicians to help the most disadvantaged in society. The organisation's research forms part of a "Growth for Everyone" project by the lobby group and coincides with a speech today to be made by the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, on "inclusive prosperity". The CBI's initial research pinpointed higher than average unemployment among those with "lower skills", and among young people and those of most minority-ethnic groups. The group is also bringing the gender pay gap to the attention of the government. While the proportion of women in work is the highest it has ever been, women are less likely than men to keep their jobs and they tend to get lower pay rises than men, even if they have the same qualifications, live in the same place and have the same type of job, the report finds. Katja Hall, the CBI's deputy director-general, said the research reflected a growing awareness among businesses that the recovery was not improving living standards for many people. "Economic growth is picking up but a lot of people are feeling worse off than before the recession," said Hall. "This piece of work has come on the back of a strong wish from our members for business to have a role in the debate around living standards . . . business wants to play its part in making sure people get work and then get on in work." While the CBI is calling on the next government to set a target for narrowing the gender pay gap and urging politicians to do more about affordable childcare, Hall conceded that business had to play a role. Employers had to help end the pattern of some people remaining trapped in low-paying jobs. "There will be low-skilled jobs in the economy and that is OK as long as we make sure there are routes out of those jobs for people. There need to be ladders, and that's a joint challenge for government and business," she said. The group, which will this year set out priorities for government and businesses, claimed that the key to raising living standards was higher productivity. Official data this week showed output per worker and output per hour had fallen in the first quarter of the year, with both measures well below pre-financial crisis peaks. Britain was lagging behind most advanced economies on productivity. "Making up lost ground is . . . critical in ending the pay squeeze in the UK. As productivity grows, so can wages," says the CBI report. Captions: Some are trapped in unskilled work

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