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Low-paid jobs in London

Proportion of jobs in London workplaces that are paid below London Living Wage by employment type (2005-2023)

This page looks at the proportion of jobs in London paid below the London Living Wage by:

  • employment type (full-time and part-time)
  • industry
  • occupation
  • borough

Here we focus on workplace based numbers. This means that jobs may be held by Londoners or by people who live elsewhere but commute into the capital. For data on jobs held by London residents only, please see 'Low-paid Londoners'.

The London Living Wage was introduced in 2005. It is a voluntary wage rate based on the amount of money that people need to live. The rate in London in April 2023 when the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings we use for this analysis was conducted was £11.95.

The proportion of low-paid jobs in London has increased slightly in 2023 (13.4%) compared to 2022 (13%); this follows a steady decline since 2018 that partially reflects the distorting effects of the pandemic and furlough in the labour market. There had been a steady rise in the proportion of low-paid jobs until 2018, when a peak of 19.9% of jobs in London were low-paid.

The number of low-paid jobs in London in 2023 were divided almost equally between full-time and part-time work. However, low-paid work is something that is more prevalent in part-time employment. In 2023, 40% of part-time jobs in London were low-paid, which was a 1.5 ppt increase from 2022. The proportion of full-time jobs in London was comparably much lower at 9.3% in 2023 and was largely unchanged since 2022 (9.2%).

Proportion of jobs paying below London Living Wage by industry (2023)

The industry that a job is in plays a significant role in whether or not it is low-paid. Nearly half of the jobs in ‘Accommodation and food service activities’ are low-paid. By contrast, just 6.4% of jobs in ‘Financial and insurance activities’ pay below the London Living Wage.

Three in ten retail jobs are low-paid and due to the size of the sector, they make up the largest proportion of low-paid jobs in London (22.6%), closely followed by ‘Accommodation and food service activities’ (19.2%).

Proportion of jobs paying below London Living Wage by occupation (2023)

Over half of ‘Elementary occupations’ are paid below the London Living Wage (55.8%), which is the highest occupational category in London, followed by ‘Sales and customer service occupations’ (50%). This is much higher than ‘Associated professional occupations’ (9.6%), ‘Managers, directors and senior officials’ (7.9%) and ‘Professional occupations’ (6.9%) in which less than one in ten jobs is low-paid.

Elementary occupations account for the largest proportion of low-paid jobs in London (29.3%). However, despite the low frequency of low-paid work in professional and managerial occupations, the volume of jobs in those occupational categories means they account for close to four in ten (39.1%) low-paid jobs in London.

Proportion of jobs paying below London Living Wage by borough workplace (2023)

There is a noticeable divide between Inner London and Outer London regarding the proportion of low-paid jobs. The eight boroughs that have a proportion of jobs below the London average (13.4%) are all Inner London boroughs. However, Haringey is a noticeable exception to this trend and has the highest proportion of low-paid jobs of all boroughs (32.1%).

Nevertheless, because of the large number of jobs in inner London, a high share of all low-paid jobs in the capital are concentrated there. For instance, 9% of low-paid jobs in London are in Westminster, the borough with the highest share, followed by the City of London (8.1%).

London Living Wage