This morning (17 March) Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg announced the NMW would increase by 3% to £6.70 per hour from October, while NMW for apprentices will go up by 57p an hour to £3.30.
But the increase will have minimal impact on candidate supply to low paid sectors such as hospitality, says Jacqui Sterry, managing director of Mise en Place, a recruiter in the sector.
She told Recruiter this latest increase would not make much difference to candidate supply as there are always a lot of candidates at the junior end of the catering industry but shortages remain particularly for skilled chefs who can act as mentors for inexperienced catering staff.
And unions and training providers claim the increase does not go far enough.
In a statement, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady claimed government could have been “much bolder” in increasing the minimum wage.
“With one in five workers getting less than a living wage, this is nowhere near enough to end in-work poverty,” she said.
“Apprentices will welcome the increase to their minimum wage, which will reduce the shortfall in their minimum pay relative to 16 and 17 year-old employees. But there really shouldn’t be a gap at all. The TUC will continue to call on the Low Pay Commission to recommend a future increase that will match the apprentice rate to that for 16 and 17-year-olds.”
Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief executive Stewart Segal echoes that call for a “narrowing of the gap” between the apprenticeship and NMW rates but says it should be carried out in stages.
In a statement, he said: “We have to ensure that increases in the apprenticeship rate do not have an impact on the number of employers providing these apprenticeship places by making sure that the programme is properly funded in the sectors where the minimum wage is an issue.”
The government will also launch a consultation with businesses on the future of the NMW rate for apprentices.
A government spokesperson told Recruiter it could not provide any detail about the scope of the consultation at this stage.
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