Each year the Office for National Statistics crunches an impressive quantity of data, in what’s called the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, from which the general public and other interested stakeholders can find out useful information on average earnings, the distribution of earnings, gender pay differences, and private and public sector pay, amongst other factors. Small wonder statisticians are handsomely rewarded for their efforts.
Many of us feel that we’re working harder but for less pay. So what can we learn from this year’s report? (Note: the data contained in the report is still marked as “provisional” data.)
*All data is sourced from the Office of National Statistics 2014 report ONS
**Full time means working 30 paid hours per week
The average weekly pay for full-time employees is £518
It’s up ever-so-slightly from last year (by a staggering 0.1% percentage points), but it has the dubious honour of being the smallest growth since 1997. The average taken is a median measure which, for those of you not mathematically inclined – as I am not – means that it’s the middle salary value that is taken if you arrange all the salaries in order, from lowest to highest. The benefit of using a median measure is that it will be unaffected by outlier salaries: exceptionally low or exceptionally high salaries. When you adjust for inflation, weekly earnings are down by 1.6% from 2013.
The bottom 10% of the pay distribution scale earn less than £288 per week, while at the opposite end of the scale, the top 10% earn £1,024 per week, a factor that can be overlooked when focusing on median measures.
196,000 jobs are paid less than the minimum wage
Make sure you know what your minimum wage entitlement is. The rates are typically updated every October. If you are over 21, currently the minimum wage is £6.50; up a bit from last year.
Based on the figures 196,000 workers over the age of 21 are paid less than the national minimum wage and this represents 0.8% of jobs in this group.
London tops the median average weekly pay for full-time workers at £660 per week
Workers in London are paid £119 more per week than the next highest area which is the South East (£541). In third place is Scotland (£519.4). Northern Ireland has the lowest average weekly pay at £457.2.
Why not have a look at the chart to see how your region stacks up – you can download the data here. The ONS have also included a magical interactive tool which allows you to see how well your borough performs regarding pay, and who’d have thought it: in Tower Hamlets, hardly the acme of prosperity (it’s better known for social deprivation), the average weekly wage is £821. Unsurprisingly, the City of London enjoys the highest median gross weekly earnings at £928. You can have a go with the interactive tool here.
The gender pay gap has narrowed to 9.4% (based on median hourly pay)
This is good news; in 2013 the gender pay gap was 10%. This is the lowest on record. There is a clear overall downward trend, from 17.45% in 1997.
Working fewer hours just doesn’t quite cut it. Sure, full timers earn £518 per week and part-timers earn £161.1 per week. But a look at the hourly rate shows that full time employees get £13.08 and part time employees earn £8.33 an hour.
Private and public sector pay differences
The median gross weekly earnings for those in full time employment went up by 1.0% in the public sector. In the private sector the increase was 0.7%. Jobs in the private sector earn £493 per week, compared with £579 per week in the public sector. However, comparisons between public sector and private sector pay isn’t straight forward as the composition of the workforce is quite different – for example, the lowest paid occupations tend to exists in the private sector and there are more graduate and professional jobs in the public sector.
£769.20 per week for directors, senior officials and managers
But you’re not surprised by this, are you? The poorest paid jobs however are in sales, and customer services and caring occupations.
The ONS report is very detailed and insightful - It’s worth taking a look. Let us know how you feel about the findings of the report and more importantly, how the data will impact your job search.