4.8 million employees are earning below the living wage according to new figures from the Resolution Foundation think tank.

The number equates to 20% of all employees in the UK and is up from 3.4 million in 2009.

The living wage is not compulsory like the national minimum wage, instead it’s based on the of living. The living wage in the UK is currently £7.45 except in London where it’s £8.55.

However despite the increased rate in the UK capital, it was one of the lowest at 16% for paying below the living wage.

Women were more likely to be paid less than the living wage with some 25% or 2.9m currently paid below it. While men only equated to 15% or 1.9m of all those earning below the living wage.

Author of the report, Matthew Whittaker said,

“For most of the working population real wages have been flat or declining for many years and as a result more and more people have dipped below the level of the living wage.

“Britain has a sorry story to tell on low pay. Only a handful of our close competitors do worse and the large majority have much lower rates of low pay – sometimes half as much.”

The industry with the greatest number of employees earning below the living rate was hotels and restaurants.

While 16-20 years olds accounted for 83% of those in extremely low paid jobs and 78% of those in low paid jobs.

Those working in the public sector are better paid with only 6% earning below the living wage in that sector.

Based on these figures if you were between 16-20 years old and working in a hotel or restaurant you are more likely to earn an extremely low wage.

In our experience we have found the group most at risk of taking out payday loans are those aged between 18 – 25 years in low paying jobs.

If you fall into the above category and you are struggling to live we would advise you to get money or debt advice.

Even if you don’t have debt it’s important to find ways or surviving without taking out credit, especially with high interest loan companies.