Shocking numbers of students are still receiving less than minimum wage, Tab report finds

Shock, hospitality pays the worst


These days, maintenance loans rarely cover the cost of our rent, so more and more of us are having to work a part-time job to support ourselves. However, how many of us know whether we’re being paid fairly or earning peanuts?

The Tab’s investigation can reveal a shocking proportion of students are still being paid under the minimum wage. This is a meagre £5.90 an hour for those aged 18-20 – the age of the majority of students. The minimum wage goes up to £7.38 for those aged between 21-24, and £7.83 for everyone over 25.

Over one thousand of you responded to our survey, and we discovered what proportion of students are currently being paid less than the minimum wage:

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1 in 10 students are being paid under the minimum wage

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Of the 1083 students who responded to our survey, we discovered that approximately ten per cent are currently being paid under the minimum wage in 2018. One of the respondents stated that their hourly pay is a frankly shocking £3.75 working in manual labour.

Of those being underpaid, 47 per cent of students work in hospitality – this is either waiting tables or working behind a bar. As well as this, 30 per cent of the respondents who are being paid under the minimum wage work in retail.

Nearly half of students feel underpaid in their part-time jobs

Around half of our overall respondents claimed they felt underpaid in their part-time job

Although around ten per cent of students are actually underpaid, nearly half of our respondents with part-time jobs feel that they don’t get paid enough for the work they do.

Taking into account the sacrifices required for students to hold down a part-time job – missing lectures, seminars and private study hours, as well as having little-to-no time to relax or socialise – this feeling of being undervalued is likely to have significant impacts on wellbeing.

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staggering 20 per cent of students aged 25 are paid under the National Living Wage


Shockingly, a fifth of our 25 year-old respondents are forced to survive on less than the National Living Wage, which is £7.83.  Nearly 90 per cent of these people work in retail.

The rising cost of living, married with a relatively thin maintenance loan means that these students are forced to live on what are essentially insufficient wages.

York, Trent and Belfast students are the most poorly paid in the country

N.B. The percentage displayed above is out of the level of response by uni, not from our overall responses.

In addition to separating the data collected by age bracket, we also broke down our respondents by uni, where we discovered that wage fairness varies massively by uni, with York, Nottingham Trent and Belfast being the most underpaid students in the UK.

As Nottingham is in the top 10 most expensive student cities in the UK, it’s clear that students at Trent are some of the most stretched in the country when it comes to money.

How to make sure you’re being paid fairly

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According to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, if you’ve got a part-time job and find that you’re being paid less than the minimum wage (before tax) then speak to your employer – they’re obliged to give you the difference between what they have been paying you, and what they should be paying you.

They could be underpaying you because they’ve made a genuine mistake, or because they believe the discrepancy is made up for in other benefits, like tips or free meals if you work in a pub or a bar. If you’re still unhappy with this, ask them to pay you the full wage instead, as you’re completely entitled to be given what you’re owed. Alternatively, find an employer like Rota who guarantee to pay not only above the minimum wage, but also the highest rates.

The app is available for students in London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Heathrow

Download the app today and get the highest rates in hospitality you’ll find