Workers in poverty

The number of workers in poverty has increased in recent years. Just under half of workers in poverty are full-time employees, about 30 per cent are part-time employees and just under a quarter are self-employed.

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Link to source: Households Below Average Income

The total number of workers in poverty has gone up over the last 20 years from 2.3 million workers in 1996/97 to 3.7 million workers in 2015/16. Of these 3.7 million workers in poverty, 1.7 million are full-time employees, 1.1 million are part-time employees and 0.9 million are self-employed workers. Just under half of workers in poverty in 2015/16 are full-time employees.  

Despite improvements in pay for those on the lowest wages, low pay remains endemic in the UK’s economy. Once in a low-paid job it is difficult for many workers to move to a better paid one. Poverty and low pay do not always go together – the vast majority of low-paid workers live in households where the income of the people they live with (such as a partner or parents) mean they are not in poverty.