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Men in their 20s are earning thousands of pounds less than the previous generation owing to the changing nature of work, a think tank has suggested.

By the age of 30, young men have earned £12,500 less on average compared to those born between 1966 and 1980, according to the Resolution Foundation.

It suggested that men now were more likely to be working in basic service jobs, or part-time, with lower wages.

The result was a narrowing pay gap between men and women.

The Resolution Foundation is a not-for-profit research and policy organisation, which says its goal is to improve outcomes for people on low and modest incomes.

Torsten Bell, executive director at the Foundation, said: “The long-held belief that each generation should do better than the last is under threat. Millennials – those born between 1981 and 2000 – 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.”

The think tank said that young 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 the age of 30.

Many found themselves working on reduced hours in shops, bars and restaurants, whereas their predecessors were more likely to have been employed in manufacturing.

The proportion of low-paid work carried out by young men has increased by 45% between 1993 and 2015-16, compared with a fall among young women, the report said.

This has narrowed the gender pay gap, but for the wrong reasons, it said.

The burden of low paid work is becoming more gender balanced but it is far from being eliminatedDaniel Tomlinson, Resolution Foundation

“In one sense this is a story of female progress on a massive scale. Women are leaving low paid occupations in their thousands. As public policy has supported female employment, with better maternity and childcare policies, and cultural norms have shifted, more women are finding work that pays a good wage,” said report author Daniel Tomlinson.

“But, on the flip side, the fact that the UK has a large low-paid service sector economy is something that increasing numbers of young men will now be able to testify to. It’s good news that low-paid roles are now more evenly shared between men and women but the way in which this is happening raises serious concerns about what the world of work has to offer some young men.

“Young women are seeing a lack of generational pay progress and they are only catching-up with their male counterparts because of a deterioration in outcomes for young men.

“Until robots can stack shelves or serve pizzas, there will always be a lot of work to be done in the UK’s low-paid service sector. The burden of low paid work is becoming more gender balanced but it is far from being eliminated.”

Related Topics

  • UK economy