Economically and socially, the Britain of the late 80s now seems barely recognisable. But it's striking that even at the height of the Thatcherite boom, in 1986 the average employee earned 62 percent less in real terms than in 2011.
For a quarter of a century, real earnings have risen even as the UK rode the peaks and troughs of the economic cycle. “But such a long-term view should not lull us into thinking that progress is either inevitable or smooth.
“Since the 2008 crash, wages have not kept up with price rises. Both the highest and lowest paid have seen real wage cuts – unlike in the 1990s recession when real wage increases carried on regardless. “The current economic weakness has changed the shape of the labour market. While the scale of layoffs has not matched the wave of redundancies seen in the early 1990s, now many workers are choosing to work differently – either going part-time or freelance. With business confidence still shaky, employers have embraced the greater labour flexibility this has brought. And for legions of skilled workers, working from home and selling their skills online is proving a powerful draw. Rather than hunting for scarce full-time jobs, many are instead choosing to tap into the booming market in short-term projects. “The “job for life” was killed off by the 1990s recession – the latest downturn has given birth to the “micro-job”.”