The story research tells us about work and poverty

Anthony Haynes writes: In this, the final post in this week’s mini-series on research on the labour market, we focus on findings provided by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

JRF, which focuses on core social and economic issues such as poverty and housing, has consistently been one of the sources of research that we most value.

Recently JRF looked at the question of what helps people to escape poverty (‘Work is the best route out of poverty — half the time’). To do so, they used data provided by the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions.

JRF’s article on the subject points to the role of employment opportunities in helping people to escape poverty. When someone in a poor household gets a job, on 56% of occasions this is associated with such an escape. When that job is full-time, the figure rises to 76%.

Clearly, obtaining employment is a key factor in poverty alleviation. But how comes those percentages are not even higher? According to JRF, “It depends on the kind of job you get, how many hours you work, the hourly pay, security and chance of getting promoted or a pay rise”.

The implication, says JRF, is that “we must look beyond welfare reform and work incentives and consider job quality, pay and security”.

The article is available here.

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