Two in five people say they aren’t paid enough to make ends meet

A new report from Indeed, released two weeks ahead of the UK General Election, suggests that more than 2 in 5 (42 percent) Brits are struggling to make ends meet. According to the survey of over 2,000 British people, those in the North East of England feel most comfortable, with less than a third (32 percent) struggling, while almost half (48 percent) of those in Scotland say their pay isn’t keeping pace. 

The cost of living is top of mind for many voters, with almost half (47 percent) feeling anxious about their current financial situation. To address this, 49 percent say that bringing costs down should be a top priority for the next government, while 39 percent say the elected party should bring wages in line with the cost of living. With almost 1 in 5 (18 percent) Brits having had no change in their salary since the start of the cost of living crisis in 2021, and 15 percent even experiencing a decrease in their pay, all eyes are on wages as the General Election approaches.

Brits who have had a pay rise have seen a mean increase of 3 percent which although exceeds the current inflation rate of 2 percent, significantly lags peak rates of 11.1 percent in October 2022. And while falling inflation has been cited as a sign that the economy is “turning a corner”, 3 in 5 (60 percent) say they don’t feel any better off despite this fall.

Those in the North East have seen the highest pay hikes with a mean salary increase of 4.9 percent, with the East Midlands seeing the lowest rise of 1.7 percent. Meanwhile, those in London experienced a mean increase of 3.1 percent.


Younger voters take the brunt of financial strain 

Millennials (aged 27-42) are particularly feeling the pinch with more than half (52 percent) saying making ends meet with their current salary is difficult.

Almost half (47 percent) have had to source additional income through a second job or “side hustle” to supplement their salary. 42 percent of Gen Z respondents (16-26) have had to do the same compared to 34 percent of all people. Millennials are also most likely to work from home due to the rising cost of transport (44 percent vs 30 percent of all people).

With rising living costs and the number of young adults who own a home falling in recent decades, millennials feel the most anxious about their current financial situation (55 percent vs 48 percent Gen Z and 47 percent of all people). Gen Z and millennial voters are also most likely to feel more insecure than ever about their future job prospects (40 percent vs 30 percent of all people).


What salary is considered to make you “wealthy” in the UK today?

With a significant proportion of Brits struggling to make ends meet, UK voters say that an individual income of £96k is needed to make you wealthy today, with households needing a combined income of £115.5k to be considered well-off. 16 percent even say that households need to earn over £200k to be considered wealthy.

Expectations around what makes you well-off rises with the salary bracket, with those already earning a household income of over £100k believing you need to be making £164.5k per household to be wealthy. In terms of a comfortable standard of living, Brits believe an individual income of £38,130 is needed, around 6 percent higher than the average UK salary of £35,822.


Job-related concerns as General Election approaches 

While wages are top of mind, other top job-related concerns for voters ahead of the General Election include ending zero-hour contracts (23 percent) as pledged by the Labour Party, and managing the threat of AI on jobs (17 percent).  With further increases in economic inactivity seen in June’s ONS labour market overview, half of Brits think reducing the cost of childcare should be a top priority for the next government to support working people, while 56 percent say that reducing the cost of public transport is key to address.

Meanwhile, almost two thirds (61 percent) believe that flexible working is here to stay, with 44 percent saying it’s more important to them than it’s ever been. In fact, over a third (36 percent) say that they wouldn’t take a role if it didn’t offer flexible working.