To think that wages have gone down A LOT in the past 20 years or so

(179 Posts)
Poetrypatty Wed 13-Oct-21 18:29:14

I'm looking at some roles where the amount offered is probably what would have been offered for that job, or possibly even less, than what you'd have got paid in about 1999. And that's often for graduates where you wouldn't have needed a degree back then and you do now. That's not even taking into account inflation or house prices.

I'm talking started and mid level office roles in particular rather than NMW jobs. I do think at the higher end wages have gone up, managers etc. For those who are old enough to remember, AIBU?

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SilverDragonfly1 Wed 13-Oct-21 18:36:41

They have in real terms, but also things like proper sick pay are far less common. Even in junior jobs/ small companies it was understood that after a qualifying period you'd get full sick pay. Now it seems acceptable for people to get SSP even when they are in senior positions in large companies (in fact, I think small companies are the worst- the only person I knew who got SSP 20 years ago worked for Boots!)

Phineyj Wed 13-Oct-21 18:38:00

As usual with these things the answer is complicated. The average UK wage has just about kept up with inflation since 2008, but has not increased in real terms. The wages of some semi-skilled (the administration jobs, driving jobs) and some skilled jobs (teaching, lecturing) have fallen in real terms (not kept pace with inflation). But some senior private sector jobs have increased their compensation. Variety of causes including a big expansion in the labour supply when the new EU countries joined back in the early 2000s and also a lot of positions became self servicing due to personal computers and a lot of tasks were automated so less need for admins, checkout assistants etc. Plus the housing bubble makes everyone feel poorer except those who bought houses before 2005 ish.

DespairingHomeowner Wed 13-Oct-21 18:39:59

Funny you say that - a senior role in my (specialist, marketing related) field circa 2005 would ha e paid around £80k (degree + 15-20 years experience)

20 years on: pay would be exactly the same, cost of living has obviously changed. Is it the same on other industries ?

Chihuahuacat Wed 13-Oct-21 18:40:52

Definitely - our graduate starting salary (big4 accountancy) hasn’t changed since at least 2010.

House prices have gone insane since then - where I live houses sold for £500k in 2010 have virtually doubled.

CorrBlimeyGG Wed 13-Oct-21 18:49:56

I started a graduate scheme in 2004, earning £21,000.

The same scheme is currently recruiting for 2022, starting salary £24,000.

SallyLovesCheese Wed 13-Oct-21 18:55:52

I was an NQT in Inner London in 2009. My starting pay was £26,000. If I started now, it would be £32,000.

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LaetitiaASD Wed 13-Oct-21 18:59:59

Wage rises can only be paid for by inflation (ie real wages don;t rise) or by productivity rising.

[UK and US] Pretty much 100% of the benefits of economic growth over the last 40 years have gone to a tiny minority at the top. This is as a direct result of Reagan and Thatcher deciding that capitalism should be for rich people who donate large sums to right wing parties who give them tax breaks, and not for ordinary people who can't afford to give political parties large sums.

This is fact with a tiny (and I mean tiny) bit of spin, not some left wing conspiracy post.

NothingIsWrong Wed 13-Oct-21 19:01:58

I started as a graduate in London in 2001 on £20,800/year. I'm fairly sure the current starting salaries are not massively more than this.

DespairingHomeowner Wed 13-Oct-21 19:08:58

Chihuahuacat

Definitely - our graduate starting salary (big4 accountancy) hasn’t changed since at least 2010.

House prices have gone insane since then - where I live houses sold for £500k in 2010 have virtually doubled.

This is really the point - house prices (in London at least) have basically doubled since 2009 whereas wages - I’ve been getting somewhere between zero & 1.5% mostly over that period

Speaking for myself, my own compensation has stayed exactly the same since 2015, but I have increased in seniority & experience since then - managing a team. Most things are more expensive so in real terms my pay has gone backwards. I’m not complaining as more fortunate than many, but does not surprise me in the least that many families where both parents work are struggling to get the bills paid

Chicchicchicchiclana Wed 13-Oct-21 19:10:37

YANBU.

I have been on a lot of threads on Mumsnet about this in the past few years.

Chicchicchicchiclana Wed 13-Oct-21 19:18:42

here's one

and another one

and a third

There have been others. Although I was a Labour supporter (before their intolerable stance on women's rights) tax credits did a lot to alleviate poverty but also allowed the CEOs of big business to underpay their staff! And so they are helped by the state while shareholders just merrily get richer and richer. Obscene.

Poetrypatty Wed 13-Oct-21 19:26:10

Thanks Chicchicchicchiclana I hadn't seen those and will take a look.

The odds are so stacked against young people at the moment sad I wonder if they even realise that pay has stagnated for decades like this. And employers are asking for a lot for this 90s pay. I know the house prices are ridiculous, and rents too in most places. I wonder what's to be done about it?

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Berlioz23 Wed 13-Oct-21 19:33:20

In my job I get paid ~£20/hr whereas 15 years ago the average was £35/hr and the job is much harder now.

DespairingHomeowner Wed 13-Oct-21 19:35:32

Agree it’s really tough for young people, especially to own a home

Equally, getting made redundant as an experienced employee (to be replaced with younger & cheaper new hires) is pretty common too: can take years to get back to same income level

PinkCricket Wed 13-Oct-21 19:38:48

House prices are crazy. The house I bought in 2001 for 105 (and sadly lost due to divorce) is now for sale for 450.

I cannot afford to buy at 45 what I could at 22 and have a far worse quality of life.

Squashpocket Wed 13-Oct-21 19:41:57

I started a graduate job (health-related, public sector) in 2008 at £19,500. My cousin started a graduate job (something to do with accounting, private sector) in 2021 at £16,500 shock

LadyCatStark Wed 13-Oct-21 19:46:39

I’ve been working as a teaching assistant since 2010 and I’ve had 2 years of yearly pay rises. The rest of the year my pay has been frozen and it’s now frozen again. Just before I started, all the TAs were forced to reapply for their own jobs and take a pay cut. I have had pay rises due to getting new jobs at the next level but now I’ve reached the top level for a TA so that’s it now, no more pay rises for me.

Badbadbunny Wed 13-Oct-21 19:49:17

Chihuahuacat

Definitely - our graduate starting salary (big4 accountancy) hasn’t changed since at least 2010.

House prices have gone insane since then - where I live houses sold for £500k in 2010 have virtually doubled.

Yep, wages aren't moving at all in accountancy and haven't really moved in the last 20 years. A lot of that is because accountancy fees have been under pressure all that time, due to increased competition etc and with accountancy being an unregulated profession, there are now lots of unqualified accountants and book-keepers offering their services at rock bottom prices to get work. I have a small accountancy practice and we're basically charging the same today as we did 20 years ago when I started it. If you can't increase your charges, then you can't pay the staff more either.

Neron Wed 13-Oct-21 19:50:59

YANBU.
I also think employers are asking for more hours now than they used to. When I started my city job, it was 35 hours, then up to 37.5 hours, and when I left to retrain, 40 hour contracts seemed to be the norm.

flowersmakeitbetter Wed 13-Oct-21 19:57:16

Yep!
Salaries same or worse
Longer hours
Higher workloads

I feel like we've stood still for the last 15 to 20 years.

sst1234 Wed 13-Oct-21 19:58:13

It’s not surprising really. Easy availability of cheap labour meant that productivity did not need to rise, companies haven’t had to invest much in skills or wages or automation when there was so much cheap labour. Same reason why house prices have gone up so much. Supply and demand.

DespairingHomeowner Wed 13-Oct-21 20:00:26

flowersmakeitbetter

Yep!
Salaries same or worse
Longer hours
Higher workloads

I feel like we've stood still for the last 15 to 20 years.

It’s all a bit crap tbh, but actually seeing so many people report this is helping me make my peace with it a bit personally: I tend to resent having to do more work for what I was earning 5 years ago!

Poetrypatty Wed 13-Oct-21 20:04:21

I also think employers are asking for more hours now than they used to. When I started my city job, it was 35 hours, then up to 37.5 hours, and when I left to retrain, 40 hour contracts seemed to be the norm

Yes you're right 35 hours was the norm. I'm self employed and didn't realise about sick pay not being normal any more either. It is really crap for people. I feel like job descriptions now want so much as well, often seems more like one and a half jobs or two jobs rolled into one.

I bought my first flat just on my one salary and it was pretty affordable. We didn't realise back then how lucky we were. I just can't see how it's going to change, especially with people having buy to lets and things like that, the property market is in the hands of fewer people. And how is pay going to go up? the shortages seem to be in the NMW jobs mostly.

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Freetodowhatiwant Wed 13-Oct-21 20:09:07

Yes even as a freelancer I find these. daily rates seem to be about the same as they were 18 years ago. Rates for written articles have gone down. It's depressing really.

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