Real value of pay falls in UK

| November 22, 2012
Real value of pay falls in UK

The average annual earnings of full-time UK workers increased by 1.4 per cent to £26,500 in the year to April 2012, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

However, with inflation at 3.5 per cent during this period, the figures represent a fall in the value of pay in real terms.

Workers in Northern Ireland saw a greater increase than those in the rest of the UK, with gross annual earnings for full-time employees up 4.2 per cent, but their average salary of £24,011 is still significantly lower than for the UK as a whole.

Commenting on the figures, Northern Ireland enterprise minister Arlene Foster said: “Whilst this is encouraging it is recognised that in order to reduce further the pay gap that exists between Northern Ireland and the UK, as well as promoting economic recovery, the private sector requires more highly paid jobs.”

There was a large variation in pay levels across the UK, with the City of London accounting for the highest average full-time earnings of £917 a week, while workers in Torridge, Devon, receive an average of just £348 a week for full-time work.

The ONS’s annual survey of hours and earnings brought positive news for women, with the gap between men’s and women’s earning narrowing from 10.5 per cent of men’s full-time hourly earnings to 9.6 per cent.

The gender pay gap has been narrowing for a number of years, with wages for women rising faster than for men, but it is the first time the gap has fallen below 10 per cent since records began in 2000.

The average annual earnings of full-time male workers increased to £28,700, while women earned £5,600 less a year on average.

The ONS reported that in April 2012, 287,000 people, or 1.1 per cent of all workers in the UK, were in jobs paying less than the national minimum wage of £6.19 an hour for those aged 21 and over.

A recent survey by KPMG found that 20 per cent of workers in the UK receive less than the ‘Living Wage’ of £8.30 an hour in London and £7.20 in the rest of the UK.

The Living Wage is the amount required to maintain a basic standard of living.

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