Britain’s Hardest Workers: Inside the Low Wage Economy Review

2016-08-29 (3)Channel: BBC 2

Presenter: Anita Rani

Series: 1

Total episodes: 5



The title grabbed me straight in. I personally have never had a job before and have no experience of a working environment. So this documentary compelled me right from the start. Being a 16 year old student, I know that sooner or later I will find myself in work. The chances are my first job will be a part time minimum wage job. So I was eager to see what the ‘unskilled’ jobs were like before I try them out myself.

Within the series we see the volunteers doing a serious of jobs from cleaning to cooking to sewing to manufacturing to sorting rubbish. All the typical low paid jobs that are out there. To be fair I always thought that these jobs were easy and anybody could do them. However after watching the documentary my view has changed completely.

Before I though cleaning was the easiest of them all, because anybody can clean right? While I still stand by this view, my eyes have been widen by the cleaning industry. Anybody can clean, but not everyone can clean to a high standard under a strict time limit. I hadn’t even considered the fact that cleaners have an allocated time window to a certain room! Not only that I couldn’t believe the state that some of the rooms were left in! I mean when I leave a hotel, the cleaners must love me as I give them so little work compared to what they usually get! Has it put me off a job in cleaning? Probably not, if it was the only job going I would take it.

What I found interesting was the warehouse work. I have never considered working in a warehouse before (mainly because you have to be 18). However I think I could easily cut it as a warehouse operator, I mean I love technology and don’t mind going at speed. I would also happily work in a food factory. Measuring out ingredients seems quite easy really as soon as you get the hang of how the machines work. Not only that I would sign up to work in a sewing factory any day! Sewing was a childhood hobby of mine and I would love to sit their sewing cushions all day, as I wouldn’t find it at all challenging.

However I definitely could not be a rubbish picker, absolutely no way! I could do the purified and cleaned rubbish….but not the stuff straight out the bin! I hate even opening the lid of my bin at home due to the smell!

The biggest shock for me was the casual work. The idea that your boss texts you in the morning to say if you have any work that day or not. I mean that must be horrible, you would feel disposable. You can’t plan or anything, just get up and go! The idea that you have to get there in time as well is just ridiculous!

What I have learnt is that a lot of the low pay work is physical work. Like picking broccoli and carrying goods. It’s all labour intensive and physically draining, which isn’t great for me as I am not physically fit in anyway!

Overall I really enjoyed watching the series and I learnt a lot about the low wage economy. It also makes me worry that I am just not ‘cut out’ for the world of work, considering the fact that I have never needed to work in my life. It is a worry. I guess it has been an eye opener for me into what might possibly be my future!


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