to wonder how employees get away with paying their staff under £15k?

(151 Posts)
KenAdams Fri 30-Nov-12 00:12:32

I've just been looking at jobs and I'm shocked at how many pay under £15k!

Surely that's not enough to buy a house in most areas of the country or afford rent on an average family house as well as food, bills, nursery fees etc?

I live in a relatively cheap area and full time nursery fees alone are around £800. How can people be expected to afford that on low wages? It's no wonder that some people really are better off on benefits, which is really sad.

I don't know how low your income has to be to get help from the government but surely there needs to be a big rise in minimum wage in order to meet living costs now?

KenAdams Fri 30-Nov-12 08:11:33

Sorry, I know £15k isn't minimum wage, but you'd get more government help on minimum wage. I'm taking about those who earn just a bit too much to get help but not enough to comfortably live on.

singing that's terrible, that's clearly not an entry level position. The role I saw that prompted this post was for a Web Designer. That requires qualifications, knowledge of various computer languages and they were only paying £15k!

lotsofdogshere Fri 30-Nov-12 08:15:38

What if the supermarkets paid better wages, and made slightly less profits? I don't expect the world would end, would it. I have mixed feelings about tax credits, I absolutely accept people need them, but is it right that they enable multinationals making massive profits pay their employees less than a living wage. What if Starbucks etc paid the proper levels of tax here, wouldn't that be a miracle.

LucieMay Fri 30-Nov-12 08:16:19

"I'm taking about those who earn just a bit too much to get help but not enough to comfortably live on."

No you still get quite a lot of help in working and child tax credits at £15k.

GhostShip Fri 30-Nov-12 08:20:03

Loads of people I know who live on my wage and less, have had multiple children and live on top up benefits. I don't want that for myself though, or my future kids. I'd love a baby right now but going to wait until I've done my midwifery degree and am employed.

GhostShip Fri 30-Nov-12 08:21:11

luciemay you don't get anything if your under 25 and childless. It's easy to keep saying people get top ups. I and many others don't.

GhostShip Fri 30-Nov-12 08:21:51

Sorry that was too the OP not you luciemay

GhostShip Fri 30-Nov-12 08:21:59


WaitingForMe Fri 30-Nov-12 08:24:20

I got my break in marketing with a charity job. It paid about minimum wage but I worked closer to 50 than 37 hours. My fuel costs were roughly 20% of my take home. I was living in a bedsit with no central heating.

It was fantastic for me. I doubled my salary when I moved jobs and now run a marketing agency (this all in last three years).

It was all the charity could pay and I was so grateful for the opportunity. I do think there are big problems with the job market but have no idea how I'd have started my career without such a low paying start.

KenAdams Fri 30-Nov-12 08:28:16

As for having kids, I agree that you should do what you can afford. For us, buying a house and having a decent amount of savings was important before we had kids, but its different for everyone.

lotsofdogs exactly what I was thinking. I suppose we then we get into the grey area of how to determine which companies are big enough to pay a better wage and which aren't though.

camdancer Fri 30-Nov-12 08:31:01

I'm involved with setting wages in a preschool. We get a set amount of money from the council. We have to have certain staff:child ratios. Even though we are a charity so don't have to make a profit, the wages are still ridiculously low. We would love to raise salaries further but we just can't afford it. It isn't always about putting profits before people.

KenAdams Fri 30-Nov-12 08:33:21

This is the job I was looking at before I posted. It's listed under graduate jobs, so you would also have to pay your student loan back if you took the job as I think the minimum you earn before you start paying it back is £15k:

»Hard code signed-off static designs from Photoshop into HTML, CSS and JavaScript websites
»Build coded websites into our own bespoke Content Management System
»Oversee the transition of all built sites within the company into the Content Management System
»Test and health check all built sites, using multiple browsers and platforms to identify any weaknesses and repair accordingly
»Preparing the new sites for customer handover on our development servers prior to content population
»Assisting the Production Co-ordinator to maintain planned project schedules, and help ensure that new sites are delivered on time

»A sound knowledge of current web design trends, technologies and techniques is a must
»Proficiency in HTML, CSS, JavaScript is paramount, whilst a good knowledge of ASP would be beneficial
»A passion for producing an exciting, engaging user experiences within front-end web designs
»Knowledge of coding for Flash web animation would be a plus
»An ability to remain calm whilst under pressure with strong time management skills would also be advantageous
»Familiarity of using Adobe Creative Suite software, especially Photoshop and Illustrator
»Able to intelligently take a design from Photoshop and slice it ready for the build process

Cozy9 Fri 30-Nov-12 08:58:55

I think the threshold for paying back Student loan is £16k, not 15.

Anyway, plenty of people earn less than 15k and manage to get by ok.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 30-Nov-12 09:02:45

I didn't mind the low salary in my previous job so much,as I understood it was an entry level job. I find it disheartening when I see jobs advertised asking for years of experience xyz qualifications and the salary offered is 15k. I'm not wildly unreasalistic in my saley expectations,but I would like to one day earn 18k.

I used to work in a supermarket in last job but one. The salaries paid to supermarket supervisors and even managers are shockingly low given the hours required (often over 40)and the responsibility the jobs actually entail. Which is something a lot of people don't realise from the outside looking in.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 30-Nov-12 09:06:17

Cozy - it is 16k. On a 16k salary you pay £1.54 pm back on your student loan. I've yet to have to start paying any back.

However,I did a postgraduate degree and the loan involved there,well,lets just say the bank really doesn't care how much I earn or if I even have a job,they'll be having their money every month. Lots of people are in the same position there.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Fri 30-Nov-12 09:51:13

Youngermother1: If your business is only able to function by underpaying your staff, then your business plan is faulty and you deserve to go bust.

flatpackhamster Fri 30-Nov-12 10:06:18


Youngermother1: If your business is only able to function by underpaying your staff, then your business plan is faulty and you deserve to go bust.

What business do you run? You're clearly an expert.

Hammy02 Fri 30-Nov-12 10:58:48

Because unemployment is so high, employers can take the mick paying far less than they would have 10 years ago. I never would have thought I'd be earning as little as I do now. I am on less than my graduate starting salary over 15 years ago. Generally due to employer's greed.

financialwizard Fri 30-Nov-12 11:01:50


Youngermother1 said that she paid NMW, therefore is not underpaying her staff.

I do think the OP is NBU. 15k is not enough on it's own to get a decent affordability calculator for a mortgage, so as a single person with or without children, you would have to save very very hard to get a deposit big enough to afford a property anywhere. Of course the initial lay out for rent is cheaper, but in the long run rent is statistically higher per month than a mortgage. Catch 22 situation anyone?

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Fri 30-Nov-12 11:10:54

Then try and work out how to save for a pension on top?!

MoomieAndFreddie Fri 30-Nov-12 11:14:25

as i have said loads of times, it is the stupidly high cost of living thats the problem

10 years ago i was on 15k and pretty comfortable. i was single, no dcs and rented a lovely little house with my then boyfriend, we had plenty of disposable cash, ran a car each, had nights out, holidays etc, and never had to claim any benefits

its scary "these days" how different things are, in my area (midlands) you can't rent a private house for less than about £600 a month, and if you are only earning £1k a month after tax you have sod all to live on, never mind treats etc

dreamingofsun Fri 30-Nov-12 11:23:22

many of my IL's earn this sort of amount - but they manage becauase they live in a cheap area of the country. to have the same - albeit basic standard of living here - you would have to earn another 10k - ie be on 25k. London would be even worse.

trouble is if there was a big rise in minimum wage, as you suggest, people higher up the pay scale would also demand pay increases. otherwise why would you supervise people if you don't get more money? Plus in the company i work for you wouldn't get paid overtime either if you are a manager. this would fuel inflation and so any increase would be wiped out anyway.

Scrazy Fri 30-Nov-12 11:23:26

People cannot afford to live off that wage. If it's the only source of household income then tax credits/housing benefit will bump it up to a livable wage.

If it's a secondary source then employers think it's OK to pay this level, usually a second earner is a woman with a man to shoulder the main household expenses.

If it's a single earner no kids, then see first paragraph, they have to rent somewhere fairly cheap or rely on housing benefit.

spoonsspoonsspoons Fri 30-Nov-12 11:37:21

My employer has just committed to paying all staff a living wage but that's still only 14.4k

Yabu to think 15k outside of London is not a living wage.

GhostShip Fri 30-Nov-12 11:46:16

People cannot afford to live off that wage. If it's the only source of household income then tax credits/housing benefit will bump it up to a livable wage

YES THEY CAN. I have said 3 times now that people do. I do, I receive no benefits.

TwoFacedCows Fri 30-Nov-12 11:59:31

well done ghostships. people can and do live on what is within their means. Not too long ago i lived on about £125 a week. now a day i have a vast wage avalible to me, and still some months it is not enough!

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