The chancellor's recent decision to hike the National Living Wage may have been widely praised by equality campaigners – but it turns out it could be having an unexpected effect on salaries.
Research by CV-Library has suggested the average UK salary for new jobs actually fell in April, when the minimum wage became the National Living Wage, and was hiked to £7.20 for workers aged over 25.
The figures suggested the average salary fell 3.4 per cent, from £34,055 in March, to £32,899 in April.
Meanwhile, in the retail sector – which was arguably worst hit by the hike – advertised salaries fell 8.9 per cent month-on-month, from £31,594 to £28,762.
The news came on the same day figures by Adzuna showed vacancies in the retail sector fell seven per cent in the month before the living wage was launched. Meanwhile, companies in the food and drinks industry, including Caffe Nero and pizza chain Zizzi, have cut staff perks such as free lunches in order to pay for the wage hike.
Official figures have also hinted at wage growth stumbling: data released last week showed wages rose 1.8 per cent in the three months to February, down from 2.1 per cent the month before, and the slowest rate since January 2015.
Average weekly earnings were £491, the lowest in 10 months.
Today Lee Biggins, CV-Library's founder, said it had anticipated a slight decline in wages as businesses got used to the new wage rules and braced themselves for a potential Brexit.
Still, it wasn't all bad. The report also showed annual growth in vacancies of 13.4 per cent, as well as a 22.6 per cent rise in applications over the same period – which suggests that while employers have been hit by the new rules, there's still plenty of room for growth.