Londoners call on the Mayor to prioritise good work post-pandemic as prevalence of insecure work increases

New polling of over 1,000 Londoners by Learning and Work Institute’s and Trust for London’s Better Work Network, sheds light on how the quality of work in the capital has been affected by the pandemic.


02 06 2021


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New polling of over 1,000 Londoners by Learning and Work Institute’s and Trust for London’s Better Work Network, sheds light on how the quality of work in the capital has been affected by the pandemic.

Over two in five (41%) low-income workers said they do not currently have a secure contract with a minimum set of hours, demonstrating the impact of job security, including the lack of minimum hours, on pay. Similarly, low-income workers are also less likely (36%) to be satisfied with their opportunities for progression, before the pandemic and now, compared to other workers (46%).

The research also finds that 47% of all London workers are currently dissatisfied with their salary, including one in six Londoners (17%) who have become dissatisfied with their salary since the onset of the pandemic.

Paved with gold?

Views on job quality in the capital

The increase in workers’ dissatisfaction with pay and opportunities for progression is likely to reflect the impact of the pandemic on London’s economy.

The sectors which have been worst affected by social distancing and lockdown restrictions – including retail and hospitality – have a higher concentration of low-income earners, who were and remain at a higher risk of redundancies, pay cuts and furloughing.

The polling showcases Londoners views on what the Mayor of London should focus on to support jobs and employment in the capital. Pay (incentives for employers to pay London Living Wage), the cost of living (affordability of transport and childcare) and training were at the top of many Londoners’ lists

The Mayor’s 2021 manifesto points to the importance of protecting, preserving and creating jobs as part of London’s recovery plan. This polling emphasises what Londoner’s think is needed to make that a reality.

Naomi Clayton, deputy director at Learning and Work Institute
Now more than ever, we need to create and promote better work in the capital to tackle the ongoing issues around in-work poverty and insecure work. Against the backdrop of an economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic, the boroughs, Mayor of London and national government should work together to create the conditions for improved local labour markets and increased opportunities for work progression over the next few years. Beyond the crisis, we need to build back better, ensuring that the post-crisis labour market has lower levels of poverty, and better work for all.
Bharat Mehta CBE, chief executive at Trust for London
Decent work is crucial to tackling poverty, however increasingly, working hard is not enough. Four in every 10 Londoners have less income than they need for a decent standard of living, and many jobs are insecure, unrewarding and fail to act as a steppingstone into a future career. We want better work for everyone, where those in work are treated fairly, with respect and paid at least a living wage. Now elected, the Mayor should follow through with this commitment and aspire to getting everyone in the city paid at least the real London Living Wage. This will be a triple win, not only for individuals living in an expensive city, but also employers and the wider economy.
1. The definition of low-income workers is based on hourly pay below the London Living Wage (£10.85 in 2021) or less than £20,000 per annum. 2. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,064 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th - 30th April 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in London. Where answers have only been completed by Londoners in employment, respondents are referred to as London workers. Respondents are referred to as Londoners where the full sample was asked to answer the question.