Millennial men have been found to be earning less than their predecessors early on in their working lives. Director of the Resolution Foundation, Torsten Bell has pointed to evidence that shows Generation Y (millennials) earn less than Generation X in every year between ages 22 and 30.
“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. While that in part reflects their misfortune to come of age in the midst of a huge financial crisis, there are wider economic forces that have seen young men in particular slide back,” Bell said.
According to the thinktank this is partly due to young men taking on low-paid jobs previously taken on by women.
Bell argues that women have adapted better to changes in the positions affected by automation over the last 25 years. In order to adapt to the loss of secretarial roles, women have on average moved to higher-skilled roles. On the other hand, men who have lost manufacturing jobs for the same reason have ended up in lower-skilled jobs.
The proportion of men doing low-paid work has increased by 45% between 1993 and 2016. This is also reflective of the fact that young men in retail roles have risen from 85,000 to 165,000.
Women are still more likely to work in retail than men but this number has fallen since the early 90s. On the other hand the amount of young men working in bars and restaurants has risen sharply from 45,000 to 130,000 since 1993.
Bell said: “The fact that young women have bucked this trend by moving overwhelmingly 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.”
One of the reasons for falling wages is thought to be the increase in part-time work. The amount of men working part time in low paid jobs has increased four-fold. The number of women in these same roles and in this same age group has fallen.
“Millennial men have earned less than the generation before them in every year of their working lives – a pay deficit that adds up to £12,500 by the time they reach 30. This is in part due to major shifts in the world of work with many more young men moving into lower skilled jobs in shops and restaurants, and doing many of those jobs part-time.
“But if the past year has taught us anything, it is that we need to look beyond the headlines of rising employment to recognise the challenges posed to groups of workers that are left behind. Policymakers need to recognise the frustration that can follow from finding that Britain does not have the opportunities you had hoped, or indeed seen previous generations enjoy.”
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