Economic Growth

These countries have suffered the biggest fall in wages since the financial crisis

A worker cleans the windows of an office building in downtown Bucharest May 28, 2014. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel (ROMANIA - Tags: SOCIETY BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CITYSCAPE TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3R6Y5

Employment rates had also dropped in some of the OECD countries. Image: REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

Keith Breene
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Economic Progress

The United Kingdom has experienced a bigger fall in inflation-adjusted ('real') wages since the financial crisis than any other advanced country apart from Greece.

A report by the UK’s Trades Union Congress, shows that real earnings have declined more than 10% since 2007, leaving the UK equal bottom of the wage growth league table.

An extended fall

The UK, Greece and Portugal were the only three OECD countries that saw real wages fall over the seven-year period.

  Real wages - least growth 2007-2015
Image: WEF

The marked difference between the UK and Greece is that while Greece saw its employment rate (the proportion of working age people with jobs) fall by 9% over the same period, the UK recorded a rise of 0.6%.

The other end of the scale

There was large real wage growth in other OECD countries, with Poland up 23%, Germany up 14%, and France 10%.

  Real wages - most growth 2007-2015
Image: WEF

Poland and Germany also saw a significant increase in employment rates, whereas France recorded a 1.8% fall.

The United States saw real wages grow by 6.4% while the employment rate fell by 3.4%.

A Brexit boost?

The fall in UK real wages is seen as one factor influencing voters ahead of the country’s decision to leave the European Union.

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