The Guardian featured a sobering article on pay volatility recently.

The article cited a research report by the Resolution Foundation, a think tank which studies the living standards of those in the UK on low to middle incomes.

The report found that:

  • Three-quarters of workers did not receive the same pay from one month to the next
  • Pay volatility was particularly acute among the lowest earners
  • Workers who experienced a wage cut typically lose £290, more than the average monthly grocery bill

The report singled out zero-hour contracts, in which workers don’t have set hours, as a key source of anxiety and stress.

One person interviewed as part of the research said: “Sometimes they might give me three shifts a week, sometimes they might give me five or six shifts. On a crap week, I get three shifts and I live off my credit card. On a good week, I can live out of my debit card.”

The author of the report, Daniel Tomlinson, was interviewed by the Guardian. He concluded: “Much of Britain is built around a steady monthly pay cheque, but our research shows this is not the reality of working life for many of us. Government and employers should look to support workers by reducing pay volatility and mitigating its impact on workers’ living standards.”