A male and female worker
The CIPD study found that majority of those in low pay are women (64%)Reuters

Women in the UK are almost 50% more likely than men to be stuck in low-paid work after a decade in it, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

The research, which was conducted in association with employee-owned company the John Lewis Partnership, also revealed that there was a huge increase in the number of people on low pay between the 1990s and 2010s.

In 2011, just under a quarter (24%) of all UK employees were in low pay – equating to around seven million people, compared to around 15% of employees (four million) in the 1990s.

The CIPD said over this period, on average, almost two out of ten (19%) of people in low pay remained "stuck", 37% were able to escape low pay and the remainder, around 40%, have cycled in and out of low paid work.

The study found that majority of those in low pay are women (64%), and although this has improved since the 1990s (when women represented over 70% of the low paid workforce), the data highlighted that women are much less likely to escape low pay than men.

"Over most of the last six years we have seen a significant fall in real wages, with evidence showing that the UK has a high proportion of workers employed in low wage roles compared with our international competitors," said Peter Cheese, the chief executive of the CIPD.

"However, to date there has been little evidence on which factors mean that some people become stuck in low paid jobs for most or all of their working lives, whereas others escape it or cycle in and out of low pay."

The research also revealed that there is a strong correlation between age and the chances of being stuck in low pay, with the likelihood of escaping low pay becoming less likely the older you become.

A typical person aged 35 is 24% more likely to escape low pay than a similar person who is 45.

Working part-time for more than a year within a ten year period is also strongly associated with a higher chance of being stuck in low pay.

Someone that works part- time for at least two out of ten years is 16% more likely to be stuck in low pay than someone who worked full-time.

The report also said that there is a clear relationship between pay and academic qualifications.

The higher a person's academic qualifications, the less likely they are to be stuck. GCSE level qualifications increase the chance of escaping low pay by 40%, A-levels increase this by 59% and a degree increases this by 71%.

The report comes after the Office for National Statistics said that the UK's total unemployment rate dropped to 6% in the three months to August.

The research body explained that there were less than two million people out of work over the period as the employment rate climbed to 73%.