Vast majority of bar staff paid less than Living Wage

By James Wallin, M&C Report

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Living wage, Minimum wage, Kpmg

Hospitality staff topped the list of occupations by proportion earning below the Living Wage
Hospitality staff topped the list of occupations by proportion earning below the Living Wage
New research has shown that 90% of bar staff and 85% of waiters and waitresses are paid under the Living Wage – as the rate was raised again.

The research by KPMG​, which also showed 80% of kitchen and catering assistants fall below the Living Wage, was released on the same day the voluntary rate was raised 20p to £7.85 an hour nationally and by 35p to £9.15 an hour in London.

Hospitality staff topped the list of occupations by proportion below the Living Wage. The mean wage for bar staff was £6.57 (up from 0.3% last year), while for waiting staff it was £6.70 (+1.2%) and kitchen and catering assistants £6.89 (+2.3%).


In total £5.2m people in the UK are paid less than the Living Wage, according to KPMG – making up 22% of the total workforce, up from 21% last year. The research showed that almost three million of those jobs were part-time roles.

Mike Kelly, head of Living Wage at KPMG, said: “Although there are almost 1,000 organisations pledged to pay a Living Wage, far too many UK employees are stuck in the spiral of low pay.

“With the cost of living still high the squeeze on household finances remains acute, meaning that the reality for many is that they are forced to live hand to mouth.  Inflation may be easing, but unless wages rise we will continue to see huge swathes of people caught between the desire to contribute to society and the inability to afford to do so. 


For some time it was easy for businesses to hide behind the argument that increased wages hit their bottom line, but there is ample evidence to suggest the opposite – in the shape of higher retention and higher productivity. It may not be possible for every business, but it is certainly not impossible to explore the feasibility of paying a Living Wage.”

Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, said: “It is welcome that the number of accredited Living Wage firms has increased. But far more needs to be done to help millions of people move from low pay to living pay. Employers and government both have a key role to play. With the right leadership Britain can become a Living Wage country over the next decade.”

Related topics: Professional Services & Utilities

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How's the pie sliced?

Posted by Interested Observer,

APSR: david was asking that question. The ALMR numbers are the closest I know to answering that. You're right - the +6% GP in the majority FOT is essentially spent on entertainment.

If OE or KPMG are alternative sources perhaps you could supply links - I haven't read them.

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What about Oxford Economics?

Posted by Anti-Pub Self Regulation,

I thought that Interested Observer would rather be using the Oxford Economics report as a source of reference than the ALMR (we support any diverse argument) report.

According to the Oxford Economics report, more taxes are being raised therefore everyone is earning more money - and lots of jobs are being created.

Or is it because the Oxford Economics report is commissioned by the BBPA (to support a nonsensical campaign) whilst the kpmg report seems more independent.

In my opinion, the ALMR supports the view that predominately FoT operators have more money to spend than predominately tied operators and spend it on discretionary costs (entertainment and operations). The poor tied tenant cannot afford to do so.

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Posted by Interested Observer,

That's before wages and rent.

About 29 and 27 after rent.

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