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Why are wages so fucking bad in 2017? They're the same as the 80's/ 90's?

(222 Posts)
BaydreamDeliever Fri 12-May-17 20:47:16

My mum moved to London in the 80's and worked for a high end shop. I've just had a look at the position they are advertising for at the moment, and it's a touch above min wage. My mum was able to afford to live on her wage back then, even though it wasn't big bucks, there is no way I could live on what they are offering today.

Wages are basically the same as years ago if you are in a lot of jobs. And the culture of 'internships' has further fucked everything. I see loads of these paying nothing or paying maybe £50 a day, demanding quite specific software skills. Entry level doesn't seem to mean entry level anymore.

I get that there always must be winners and losers in society as it's structured now, but seriously how can things churn on with workers being paid such shit money? If they do away with tax credits or housing benefit - what then? What will happen? I don't get it and I'm scared thinking of it. I'm educated, have a bit of experience in certain fields but not in any that pay reasonably. There must be millions like me in that same boat.

silentpool Fri 12-May-17 20:51:52

Massive inward movement of labour = greater competition for jobs = no need to pay higher wages.

I could go out today and get a job earning what I made 15 years ago.

expatinscotland Fri 12-May-17 20:53:29

People put up with it is why.

Hefzi Fri 12-May-17 21:38:58

What silent said.

It's supply and demand - so wages are lower.

Tax credits have helped further in this situation.

littlehandcuffs Fri 12-May-17 21:39:03

Huge pool of workers willing to work for minimum wage / zero hours, also massive pressure on business and country as a whole due to deficit = essential cuts and taxes.

Orlantina Fri 12-May-17 21:40:18

House prices have changed though.

It's a house of cards.

littlehandcuffs Fri 12-May-17 21:42:48

Control immigration and pay off debt = wages rise. Just like budgeting at home really : )

Believeitornot Fri 12-May-17 21:44:52

It's not purely supply and demand.

Businesses have pushed costs lower. Employees have no way of countering this because there are not enough unions to represent the rights of employees. So business can get away with low wages. If we had better union representation then we'd have better wages.

Housing costs have gone up. Massively.

BubbleBed Fri 12-May-17 21:47:22

Housing costs have spiralled, which is most of the issue.

My mother as an NQT earned around £18k in 1995. Her house was £55k.

Same house now is valued at just shy of £300k. NQT wage is £22k. No chance.

JustDanceAddict Fri 12-May-17 21:55:27

My pro-rata salary is the same as it was in 2001. I work in the public sector now, but even my previous role wasn't in a well paid industry.

LilyChantilly Fri 12-May-17 22:05:15

What Believeitornot said. It's capitalism. It hasn't happened because workers are prepared to accept lower wages - they're not the ones with the power. Businesses are offering lower wages because they can get away with it. And as others have pointed out, cost of housing is now utterly absurd.

FloweringDeranger Fri 12-May-17 22:08:36

Housing is a big factor, but other factors affecting the supply /demand of labour are the increased education level which pushes the wages for jobs requiring education down, and the advance of technology which is steadily claiming more jobs than it is creating.

We simply do not need as many people to produce either needed or 'luxurious' goods, yet we have more people than ever.

SophieGiroux Fri 12-May-17 22:08:39

Pharmacists are paid less than what they did ten years ago. Mainly due to immigration and also more unis offering pharmacy so more new graduates. The chains like Boots and Lloyds lap it up offering less and less money every year. Will be better off stacking shelves soon.

rumblefish23 Fri 12-May-17 22:09:41

Working as an Learning Support Assistant in a school, I earn crap money. I haven't had a pay rise in 4 years but my bills have gone up. I would be better off if I claimed benefits as I am a single mum but I want to work.

bibbitybobbityyhat Fri 12-May-17 22:14:19

Yanbu! I have been saying the same for years.

I earned £25,000 for a pretty simple office based job in London in 1998. I doubt it would pay much more now, infact I'm certain of it.

I sometimes did office temping prior to that - £10 or £11 per hour in the 1990s.

No wonder people are struggling, especially with the insane house prices now.

Frustratedboarder Fri 12-May-17 22:14:49

My OH and I were discussing this the other day.

We're in hospitality and almost 20yrs ago my salary as a restaurant supervisor was £11.5k; chef de partie was £14k. Now, the same jobs salaries are both £17k - £3k in 20 years!!!

Meanwhile in Sainsbury's I can't even count how many "Basics" items have gone up by 10-15% in just the last couple months... I was almost tearful about it this morning, it's unsustainable surely??

And Don't even talk to me about housing inflation.... sad

Summerisdone Fri 12-May-17 22:28:35

I earn £52.50 a day working 9.30-5, it costs me £48 a day to put my son in nursery so I'm able to go to work.
I'd be totally fucked without tax credits and child benefit.
Even if I didn't have to pay for a nursery, earning £262.50 a week would never ever be enough to support my child and I without massive help from benefits.

I do seriously worry about our future because if the government are going to continue to make cuts the way they are, I wonder if I'll be able to actually pay my bills.

foxyloxy78 Fri 12-May-17 22:37:45

It's the house prices that is doing it mainly. Completely disproportionate to earnings and it makes cost of living unaffordable. We work to pay the bills and mortgage and struggle in the main. It's no way to live really. Not sure what can be done about it though. Dread to think about how hard our kids will have it.

Welldoneme Fri 12-May-17 22:40:55

Probably due to immigration, too many people chasing job roles which forced down wages in real terms.

Thank you Mr Blair/Brown for opening the floodgates

fizzybootlace Fri 12-May-17 23:00:32

The Labour government and tax credits. Completely took the pressure off businesses to raise wages. But as pp have said they can't cope without them so are here to stay, perpetuating the problem.

Regarding migrant workers pushing down wages, in certain industries such as hospitality no one from the UK even applies, even for the senior roles with good wages. The jobs are there but young people won't do it. And I'm talking about desk jobs, not manual work.

nancy75 Fri 12-May-17 23:06:04

I was a retail manager, I left when I had dd 12 years ago. Recently I saw my old job advertised ( same shop) the wage was £1000 less pa than when I left! My rent 12 years ago was £750 pcm, the came house now would be £1800 pcm it is total madness

Pentapus Fri 12-May-17 23:16:25

If I went out to get the same job as I got in 2001, yes it would be pretty much the same income. I have been annoyed about it for years.

GigiBuffon Fri 12-May-17 23:19:31

Worked in a pizza delivery place as a student 20 years ago. The assistant managers got paid £17k pa. They get paid the same or a bit less now.

2 bed flat in a reasonable area close by was £40k then. More like £120k now. 3 bed semi with a back garden would have been about £60-70k.

Two of my friends bought flats whilst working there, another two had a babies with their girlfriends and bought flats to set up family home whilst the girlfriends continued studying at university.

The manager was on about £25k including a bonus- he had three young kids and his wife stayed at home as they were trying for number 4! She didn't want to go back to work and then go straight onto maternity leave.

HelenaDove Fri 12-May-17 23:19:53

Hefzi The abolition of the wages councils came way before tax credits

From 15 December 1992.

www.heraldscotland.com/news/12577696.Abolition_of_wages_councils_and_threat_to_the_lower_paid/

tammytheterminator Fri 12-May-17 23:21:12

Totally and utterly frustrating. Excuse for the next ten years will be Brexit.

It does depend on where you are in the food chain though. I know several people at director level who have been offered jobs and had money literally thrown at them.

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