Ashwin Kumar spoke at the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership event on Women and the Future of Work. 

He discussed how low-paid work is predominantly carried out by women, often working part-time, who have been disproportionately affected by legal and technical innovation outpacing labour market regulation and reducing the quality of work. In the face of industrial change – e.g. the decline of retail – we have almost no plan for retraining people already in work on low-wages – effectively giving up on the careers of women working part-time. Finally, the public service infrastructure that supports the work of low-paid women has been degrading – childcare costs rising, local bus services declining. Not only does this reduce hours of work, but it also reduces bargaining power, and the potential for pay progression. There have been some signs of hope with the Taylor Review and the development in Manchester, Scotland, London and elsewhere of charters for good work, but our failure to address the reality of a changing labour market for low-paid women is part of the UK’s productivity problem and needs to be a much greater focus of economic policy.  Click here for a stream of the event.