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Student News

Government careers site accidentally features jobs that pay below legal wage

A Government job site has just been shown up for advertising vacancies that offer fresh graduates less than the new Living Wage. But who’s to blame?
living_wage Credit:MOB 68 –
In what can only be described as a major booboo, The Graduate Talent Pool – a government-funded careers organisation – have been forced to take down some vacancies they were advertising that failed to meet legal minimum wage requirements.

As you may already know, the government officially introduced the National Living Wage this month, meaning that workers aged 25 and above will now earn a minimum of £7.20/ hour (hard luck to the under-25s, though, who'll still be on £6.70/ hour).

However, careers blog Graduate Fog did some digging and found that The Graduate Talent Pool was advertising positions that didn’t meet the criteria that the government itself had set…..


So what's the story?

awkward government
One Content Marketing internship at Tamar in London was advertised at £6.94/hour and two positions were discovered at a recruitment agency called Inspiring Interns that were offering a salary of £1100/month. This works out at £6.84/hour if employees worked the average 37 hours per week.

These positions are either illegal or extremely problematic because of two factors:

  1. As they offered less than £7.20/ hour, this is below the legal requirement for over-25s
  2. If the position was reserved for candidates aged 24 or younger (meaning they wouldn't then be technically offering illegal salaries) this would point to age discrimination.

Who's to blame for this?

Graduate Fog have suggested that not only does this error show The Graduate Talent Pool is revealing "a serious disconnect from the young people they are responsible for serving,” but it also indicates that the government’s four tiered minimum wage requirements is so confusing that even it’s own funded initiatives can’t work it out!

The four tier system looks like this:
wage tableCredit: TUC
It’s clear that the government need to provide more guidance on how employers should be approaching creating vacancies for young workers, as the minimum wage tier system is too complicated – young people’s rights need to be protected!

Tanya de Grunwald, Founder of Graduate Fog has said:

I worry that if the government’s own jobs website can’t work it out, what hope is there that employers will know what they should be doing to ensure all jobs are advertised fairly and legally?

Also, are we going to see a situation where uni-leavers aged 25 and over are going to be “too expensive” for an internship? There are some serious flaws in this system that need to be addressed!

Check out our Jobs and Careers section for advice on how to find the perfect graduate job.

We also have a whole host of opportunities going on our graduate schemes job listings page – but we can't vouch for every individual listing, so make sure you do the calculations before applying!


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