How tech is killing middle incomes in UK


Globalization and technological change are leading to the demise of middle incomes in U.K. cities, according to a new report.

The report by the Centre for Cities, a U.K.-based think tank, found that the gap between well paid and low paid jobs in the U.K. is getting wider at the expense of middle income jobs.

"There's no doubt that low-paying jobs have always existed, and that some U.K. cities continue to see significant growth in high-paid jobs. But what has changed over the past few decades is that, in many cities, the pathways to upward mobility have been severely eroded, as their jobs markets polarize and the stable jobs of the 'middle' begin to slip away," Alexandra Jones, chief executive of the Centre for Cities said in a statement.

The report also found the gap is growing in cities despite wage increases for both low income and high income jobs in cities. For example wages for the both the lowest and highest paid jobs in Birmingham grew by 31 percent between 2002 and 2011, despite seeing one of the largest levels of growth in its income gap.

The worst hit cities according to the report are Stoke and Coventry, which saw the gap between their best and worst paid jobs increase by 40 percent from 2002 to 2011.

The report also predicts that by 2022, more than 60 percent of workers in London will be employed in high paid occupations, thanks to the rise of knowledge-intensive industries.

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The report called for "new thinking" on how the labor market in U.K. cities are changing.

Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, that commissioned the research, said in a statement, "As more cities start leading on growth strategies they must respond as part of this work to the shifts occurring in the labor market. We need new thinking if we are to crack the problems around training, progression at work and job security."

By Hamza Ali, special to, follow him at @Hamza_M_Ali

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