Workers in Scotland are less likely to earn under the Living Wage than those anywhere else in the UK outside the south east of England, new research indicates.

The real Living Wage currently sits at £8.75 per hour outside London, where it is £10.20 per hour.

A study conducted by IHS Markit for professional services firm KPMG, found 19% of employees in Scotland earned under the Living Wage, compared to 22% across the UK as a whole.

The area where workers were most likely not to be paid the voluntary rate was joint between Northern Ireland and the East Midlands, both at 26%.

Meanwhile, in the south east of England 18% of employees were paid at least the hourly figure, falling to 20% in London.

In both Scotland and the UK as a whole, the percentage of jobs paying less than the rate grew by one percentage point between 2017 and 2018.

Scotland has the lowest proportion of female workers earning under the Living Wage at 22%, compared to 27% across the UK, however the UK figure remains 10 percentage points above that of male workers.

Part-time workers are twice as likely to be paid below the Living Wage in Scotland, with 37% below the threshold compared to 11% of full-time workers.

UK-wide more than one in four part-time workers (43%) are paid under the figure.

  • 18 – 21 year olds 68%
  • 22 – 29 year olds 25%
  • 30 – 39 year olds 16%
  • 40 – 49 year olds 15%
  • 50 – 59 year olds 17%
  • 60 years old and over 25%

The age group most likely to miss out on the Living Wage are those aged 18 to 21, affecting almost seven out of 10 (68%) of these workers.

Calculated on an annual basis by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission according to the basic cost of living in the UK and London, the so-called real Living Wage is voluntary for employers and applies to all employees aged 18 and over.

It differs from the UK-Government set National Living Wage of £7.83 an hour for those aged 25 and over and from the National Minimum Wage which ranges from £3.70 to £7.38 an hour depending on age and status.

Jenny Stewart, Partner at KPMG in Scotland, said: “Scotland still has 435,000 workers paid below the Living Wage, and progress seems to have stalled with 19% of the workforce paid below the Living Wage compared to 18% last year.

“While this is lower than the UK-wide average, there is still much headway to be made.

“If you’re one of the following – a part-time worker, or under the age of 21, or female – you are much more likely to be paid less than £8.75 per hour.”

She stressed a collective approach is needed, adding: “For businesses, it is possible to make the change and focus on the benefits the real Living Wage can bring – including improved staff morale, rising service standards and increased productivity.”