It seems that we can never get enough rags-to-riches stories or the opportunity to unearth the secret to earning more money. But what about those people at the other end of the pay scale?
According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 287,000 jobs below the national minimum wage held by people aged 16 and over in the UK last year. As the labour market is still unstable, risks are high that this number will worsen as well - despite the fact that the national minimum wage was increased by 11p to £6.19 per hour last October.
Start low to move up
Low wage and entry-level jobs can be important for those trying to enter or re-enter the labour market. Labour is in demand for these low-paying jobs and many are perfect fits for students who want to earn a little cash or for anyone who wants a second job. Often, these jobs have flexible or unconventional hours, so you're not stuck in a cubicle from 8 to 5 every day. Perhaps more importantly, these jobs allow you to get a taste of a company or industry so that you can begin building your career. However, it becomes problematic when low paying jobs stop being a stepping stone and workers get stuck at the bottom of the labour market and this is more often the case than widely known.
Also, keep in mind that earnings can vary widely for the same job in different industries, at different companies and in different geographical locations. London cabbies can earn about £30,000 to £40,000 a year, almost one-third more than the average for the occupation across the UK. And thanks to the tipping etiquette, waitpersons and bar staff can often improve their paycheques.
So, take a look at some of the lowest paying jobs in Britain according to the 2012 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) and see how they might factor into your professional goals.*
Earning from £20,000 to £15,000 per annum:
Telephone salespersons: £19,712
Customer service occupations: £18,250
Dental nurses: £16,858
Call and contact centre occupations: £16,836
Fitness instructors: £16,529
Care workers and home carers: £16,093
Teaching assistants: £15,931
Housekeepers and related occupations: £15,067
Earning from £15,000 to £10,000 per annum:
Pharmacy and other dispensing assistants: £14,826
Sales assistants and retail cashiers: £14,598
Cleaners and domestics: £14,436
Sales and retail assistants: £14,326
Nursery nurses and assistants: £13,910
Kitchen and catering assistants: £12,904
Bar staff: £12,847
Waiters and waitresses: £12,429
Hairdressers and barbers: £12,138
*Salary figures based on annual gross mean pay for full-time employee jobs
The list above is by no means a comprehensive one and there are a number of other occupations that pay the same as a waiter or receptionist, for instance.
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