Waiters, bricklayers and air cabin crew ‘worst hit by pay cuts’ during pandemic

Carpenters and pest control officers are also likely to have seen a drop in wages.

A bricklayer
A bricklayer

Restaurant staff, IT engineers, bricklayers and air travel assistants are among the workers most likely to have had their pay cut since the Covid-19 pandemic began, analysis suggests.

These professions have been classed as “high vulnerability jobs” by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), meaning they are non-key worker roles very unlikely to be done from home.

Just under a third (32.4%) of employees in the UK fall into the high vulnerability group, and may have been more likely to see a reduction in working hours or wages during the pandemic.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

More than half of employees (53%) who were furloughed last April worked in high vulnerability jobs, the ONS said.

Occupations in this group made up 88% of jobs with a median hourly wage below £9.12 – the threshold for low pay.

Examples of high vulnerability professions that had a fall in wages include waiters and waitresses, who saw a drop of 10% in median hourly pay from April 2019 to April 2020, and 77% were also likely to have been furloughed.

Bricklayers and masons saw a fall of 8% (64% of whom were estimated to be furloughed), air travel assistants had a drop of 8% (33% furloughed), and IT engineers recorded a fall of 7% (26% furloughed).

Other big drops in pay are likely to have hit restaurant managers (down 10%, 73% furloughed); sheet metal workers (down 10%, 54% furloughed); pest control officers (down 8%, 35% furloughed); and carpenters and joiners (down 6%, 62% furloughed).

More than two-fifths (41.4%) of jobs in the high vulnerability group saw pay reductions in the last year.

Furlough affected changes in pay, the ONS said, with over a third (36.7%) of employees in high vulnerability jobs furloughed in April.

More than a quarter (27.9%) of UK employees work in what the ONS classed as low vulnerability jobs, meaning they are likely to be able to work from home, or are considered a key worker.

Most professional occupations, which include healthcare specialists, teachers and accountants, fall into the low vulnerability category.

Just under a third (31.7%) of jobs in this group saw pay decreases in the past year, while only 8.1% were estimated to be furloughed in April.

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