Millennial men are earning £12,500 ($15,649) a year less than their counterparts born between 1966 and 1980, according to a report published today by the Resolution Foundation.
“The long-held belief that each generation should do better than the last is under threat. Millennials – those born between 1981 and 2000 – are the first to earn less than their predecessors,” said Torsten Bell, executive director at the UK-based think tank.
“While that in part reflects their misfortune to come of age in the midst of a huge financial crisis, there are wider economic forces that have seen young men in particular slide back.”
One of the reasons for the sharp decline in men’s wages is that women have demonstrated a greater ability to adapt to the changing nature of employment.
In response to the threat posed by automation, women have taken on higher-skilled positions, statistics suggest.
“The fact that young women have bucked this trend by moving overwhelmingly into higher-skilled roles is welcome, and suggests that the disruptive force of automation has met its match in the forward march of education and feminism,” he said.
The government-backed UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) forecast that by 2020, almost half of working-age women will have degree-level qualifications, compared to 44 percent of men.
“In one sense this is a story of female progress on a massive scale. Women are leaving low paid occupations in their thousands. As public policy has supported female employment, with better maternity and childcare policies, and cultural norms have shifted, more women are finding work that pays a good wage,” said report author Daniel Tomlinson .
What’s more, manufacturing in the UK, a sector largely dominated by men, has been shrinking significantly. Manufacturing jobs fell by 51 percent between 1996 and 2015 in London alone.
Instead of adapting, more millennial men have chosen to work in basic service jobs, or take on part-time roles with lower wages than Generation X once did, according to the Resolution Foundation.
The number of young men working in bars and restaurants for example has trebled from 45,000 to 130,000 since 1993, the report revealed.
Responding to the report’s findings, a spokesman from the Equality Trust, a UK charity working to reduce income inequality told Verdict:
“If the government is serious about creating an economy that benefits us all, they cannot allow future generations to wither on the vine.”