13 July 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Employers must do more to help low-paid workers to progress to higher-quality, better-paid jobs to escape the in-work poverty cycle.
A report published this week by the Public Policy Institute for Wales claims that while some growth sectors - such as accommodation and food services, residential care, retail, and agriculture, forestry and fishing - offer effective entry points into the job market, they don't offer sufficient opportunities for career development.
The report's authors, Professor Anne Green, Dr Paul Sissons, and Dr Neil Lee, argue that local economic development strategies and employment and skills policies must respond to changes in business models and job design in low-pay sectors to equip workers for the future.
Careers advice also needs to be tailored to local conditions to help those working in low-paid jobs to progress.
The study calls for policies that take account of local labour market conditions and promote joined-up action by employers, government, trades unions, and others to support people to develop their careers and promote inclusive local economic growth.
The accommodation and food services sector is characterised by low pay and sometimes by seasonal working, adds the report.
It states: "The low barriers to entry mean that this sector is a conducive target for employment entry initiatives, including for people who are disadvantaged in the labour market and who may benefit from contextualised training, yet flat organisational structures and limited training and development reduce the scope for career advancement."