Coronavirus: Generation Z and lower earners hit worst by the pandemic

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2 min read
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/10/24: Temporary Pedestrian zone sign at the entrance to a cordoned off street in Soho with empty tables and chairs outside a restaurant. Struggling bars and restaurants in London will be at crossroads at the end of this week. It's a few days before the end of the programme of road closures in Soho and Covent Garden that has permitted restaurants and bars to put tables in the streets for the first time. Soho was transformed into an alfresco dining district, but as winter approaches, streets in the cold and rain are virtually empty and with the prospect of a further lockdown many businesses who have tried so hard to make it, look like they are being forced to close up - this time for good. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Younger, part-time and worse-paid employees were disproportionally hit by the pandemic. Photo: Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Younger employees and the lowest-paid part-time employees were among the worst hit in the jobs market by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New data from the Office For National Statistics (ONS) Employee earnings in the UK: 2020 report found that employees aged 16 to 17 and 18 to 21 years were also more impacted than other employees in terms of hours paid for, which fell 5.7% and 3.4% respectively compared with 2019.

Predictably, the data showed sectors that were hardest hit by the pandemic were accommodation and food services. While pay held up for the majority of employees, in accommodation and food services, paid hours fell by 12% and weekly pay fell by 18.1% compared with 2019.

Younger workers and those working in accommodation and food services are also more likely to be furloughed and were less likely to have their pay topped up by their employer when compared with other furloughed employees.

Median weekly pay for full-time employees was £586 ($764) in April 2020, up 0.1% on a year earlier.

Median annual pay for full-time employees was £31,461 for the tax year ending 5 April 2020, up 3.6% on the previous year; annual pay estimates are largely unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pay fell in the private sector (negative 0.6%) but not in the public sector (positive 2.4%), following four years of higher pay growth in the private sector. This fall reflects the different job types across each sector and the extent they have been impacted because of coronavirus.

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There is growing evidence that the pandemic has disproportionally affected the young, with research also showing that grad jobs are drying up.

Graduate job advertisements were down 60% annually from 1 January to 30 July, with some sectors, such as marketing, construction and recruitment, taking bigger hits yet, data from job board CV-Library shows.

Research released today has also found that younger workers were less likely to speak up if they felt unsafe at work due to COVID-19, potentially down to the fact they felt more vulnerable in their positions. Just over a third (36%) of people aged 18-24 said they spoke up, while 67% of 55-65 year olds raised an active concern about safety.

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