Low-paid Londoners over time

Date 30 October 2017
Date updated 1 November 2018


What does this chart show?

This graph shows the proportion of full-time, part-time, and all jobs that are held by Londoners and are paid below the London Living Wage over time. The most recent London Living Wage is £10.20 an hour. This graph assesses whether people are low paid or not based on their hourly earnings.

In 2018, just over one in five employees (22.5%) were low paid. This is an increase on 2017 and follows two years in which the proportion of Londoners who are low paid has fallen. The proportion of Londoners who are low paid has now increased back to the levels seen before the introduction of the government’s ‘National Living Wage’ in 2016.

The number of Londoners paid below the London Living Wage was 760,000 in 2018, an increase of 60,000 on 2017 and the highest number of low-paid employees recorded.

Previously, between 2010 and 2015, there had been sharp increase in low pay, from 14% to 22%.

The increase in low pay in London between 2017 and 2018 was driven by a higher share of full-time jobs paying below the LLW, from 13% to 14%, around 30,000 jobs. There was no change in the proportion of part-time jobs that are low-paid, although low pay remains much more prevalent in part-time work: nearly half (47%) of part-time jobs are low paid.

The London Living Wage, which reflects the cost of living, has been increasing more quickly than earnings for the last number of years. For both 2016 and 2017, increases in earnings have kept pace with the LLW and the proportion paid below this level has not increased. This is despite a nearly 4% increase in the LLW in this period from £9.40 to £9.75. The London Living Wage level increased by nearly 5% to £10.20 for 2018, which outstripped pay increases in the bottom quarter.

For comparison, low pay rates in the UK also rose between 2017 and 2018, but only by 0.5 percentage points to 20.3%.This is the using the UK voluntary/real living wage as the low pay threshold.

NB. These estimates differ slightly from a user-requested data release by the ONS for 2016 and 2017. The ONS has access to more detailed data than these estimates, but calculating our own figures allows us to use more comparisons across time and for different types of geography (for example, residence-based low pay rates).