Craig Holmes presented his current research at the National Institute for Economic and Social Research on April 24th.

In the presentation, entitled ‘Are UK labour markets really polarising?’, he discussed evidence that wage distributions show little evidence of ‘hollowing out’, even while there is significant evidence that the growing occupations are higher wage and lower wage. He explained that the high wage growth rates at the top end of the distribution have had the effect of making many good jobs appear relatively closer to middle jobs by comparison. He then presented findings from the recent report produced for the Resolution Foundation (co-authored with Ken Mayhew) which look at what factors have actually contributed to changes in the earnings distribution, and showed that the shift towards non-routine occupations is only one factor that has been important in recent years. Educational attainment, changing wage premia to levels of education and deunionisation have also had large effects. He argued that many of those in apparently good jobs (such as managerial positions) earn less than the average of those occupations in previous years and that there is a growing polarisation within the top-end jobs.

Link to Resolution report: