Average weekly earnings in Great Britain: August 2019

Estimates of growth in earnings for employees before tax and other deductions from pay.

This is the latest release. View previous releases

This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
Email Roger Smith

Release date:
13 August 2019

Next release:
10 September 2019

1. Other pages in this release

Other commentary from the latest labour market data can be found on the following pages:

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2. Main points for April to June 2019

  • Estimated annual growth in average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain increased to 3.7% for total pay (including bonuses) and 3.9% for regular pay (excluding bonuses).

  • In real terms (after adjusting for inflation), total pay is estimated to have increased by 1.8% compared with a year earlier, and regular pay is estimated to have increased by 1.9%.

  • Public sector annual pay growth has accelerated to 3.9% and is now at its highest since May 2010; this is driven in large part by the health and social work sub-sector in which the timing of pay rises for some NHS staff is different in 2019 compared with 2018.

  • Average earnings, including bonuses, in the construction sector increased by 5.9% on the year.

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The estimates in this bulletin come from a survey of businesses. It is not possible to survey every business each month, so these statistics are estimates based on a sample, not precise figures.

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3. Analysis

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The earnings estimates are not just a measure of pay rises as they also reflect changes in the number of paid hours worked and changes in the structure of the workforce; for example, more high-paid jobs would have an upward effect on earnings growth rates.

Annual growth in both total pay (including bonuses) and regular pay (excluding bonuses) has accelerated in recent months. Two contributing factors were introduced in April that have a potential impact in this reporting period, these are:

  • pay increases for some NHS staff which will impact public sector pay growth

  • the introduction of the new National Living Wage rate and National Minimum Wage rates which will impact the lowest-paid workers in sectors such as wholesaling, retailing, hotels and restaurants

For June 2019, average regular pay, before tax and other deductions, for employees in Great Britain was estimated at:

  • £505 per week in nominal terms

  • £469 per week in real terms (constant 2015 prices), higher than the estimate for a year earlier (£460 per week), but £4 (0.8%) lower than the pre-recession peak of £473 per week for April 2008

The equivalent figures for total pay are £499 per week in June 2019 and £525 in February 2008, a 5.0% difference.

Between April to June 2018 and April to June 2019, public sector annual total pay growth increased to 3.9% and is now at its highest growth rate since May 2010. This is largely driven by NHS pay rises, where some of the April 2018 pay increases were paid in arrears in summer 2018. As a result, public sector pay estimates for April to June 2019 include two NHS pay raises for 2018 and 2019 when compared with April to June 2018.

Between April to June 2018 and April to June 2019, average total pay growth (including bonuses) varied by industry sector:

  • for construction, growth was estimated to have been 5.9%, more than the whole economy average of 3.7%

  • for wholesaling, retailing, hotels and restaurants, the lowest-paying sector, growth was estimated to have been 2.4%. This compares with regular pay growth in this sector of 3.1%, the difference reflecting reduced bonus payments during these three months compared with last year

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4. Data

Average weekly earnings
Dataset EARN01 | Released 13 August 2019
Headline estimates of earnings growth in Great Britain (seasonally adjusted).

Average weekly earnings by sector
Dataset EARN02 | Released 13 August 2019
Estimates of earnings in Great Britain broken down to show the effects of changes in wages and the effects of changes in the composition of employment (not seasonally adjusted).

Average weekly earnings by industry
Dataset EARN03 | Released 13 August 2019
Estimates earnings in Great Britain broken down by detailed industrial sector (not seasonally adjusted).

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5. Glossary

Average Weekly Earnings

Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) is the lead monthly measure of average weekly earnings per employee. It is calculated using information based on the Monthly Wages and Salaries Survey (MWSS), which samples around 9,000 employers in Great Britain.

The estimates are not just a measure of pay rises as they do not, for example, adjust for changes in the proportion of the workforce who work full-time or part-time, or other compositional changes within the workforce. The estimates do not include earnings of self-employed people.

Estimates are available for both total pay (which includes bonus payments) and for regular pay (which excludes bonuses). Estimates are available in both nominal terms (not adjusted for inflation) and real terms (adjusted for inflation).

Bonus

A bonus is a form of reward or recognition granted by an employer. When an employee receives a bonus payment, there is no expectation or assumption that the bonus will be used to cover any specific expense. The value and timing of a bonus payment can be at the discretion of the employer or stipulated in workplace agreements.

Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH)

As of 21 March 2017, the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) became our lead measure of inflation. It is our most comprehensive measure of UK consumer price inflation.

Monthly Wages and Salaries Survey (MWSS)

A survey through which we collect information on wages and salaries. It is distributed monthly to around 9,000 employers covering around 12.8 million employees.

A more detailed glossary is available.

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6. Measuring the data

This bulletin relies on data collected from the Monthly Wages and Salaries Survey, a survey of employers in Great Britain excluding small businesses employing fewer than 20 people.

The Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) report pulls together important qualitative information on the various dimensions of data quality, as well as providing a summary of the methods used to compile the output.

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7. Strengths and limitations

The figures in this bulletin come from a survey of businesses, which gathers information from a sample rather than from the whole population. The sample is designed to be as accurate as possible given practical limitations such as time and cost constraints. Results from sample surveys are always estimates, not precise figures. This can have an impact on how changes in the estimates should be interpreted, especially for short-term comparisons.

As the number of people available in the sample gets smaller, the variability of the estimates that we can make from that sample size gets larger. Estimates for small groups (for example, earnings for the construction sector), which are based on quite small subsets of the Monthly Wages and Salaries Survey sample, are less reliable and tend to be more volatile than for larger aggregated groups (for example, earnings for the private sector).

In general, short-term changes in the growth rates reported in this bulletin are not usually greater than the level that can be explained by sampling variability. Short-term movements in reported rates should be considered alongside longer-term patterns in the series and corresponding movements in other sources to give a fuller picture.

Further information is available in A guide to labour market statistics and A guide to sources of data on earnings and income.

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8. You might also be interested in

Labour market economic commentary
Article | Released 13 August 2019
Additional economic analysis of the latest UK labour market headline statistics and long-term trends.

Employee earnings in the UK: 2018
Bulletin | Released 25 October 2018
Estimates of employee earnings, using data from our Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Figures are presented mainly for full-time employees, although some detail for part-time workers is also included.

Low and high pay in the UK: 2018
Bulletin | Released 25 October 2018
The distribution of earnings of high- and low-paid jobs, earnings by selected percentiles and jobs paid below the National Minimum Wage, compiled from our Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE).

Gender pay gap in the UK: 2018
Bulletin | Released 25 October 2018
Differences in pay between men and women by age, region, full-time and part-time, and occupation as compiled from our Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE).

Index of labour costs per hour in the UK (experimental statistics)
Bulletin | Released 17 June 2019
Changes in the costs of employing labour analysed by sector and industry.

National Living Wage earners fall short of average family spending
Article | Released 29 March 2018
How easy is it to live on the National Living Wage? This article includes a calculator to help you find out.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Roger Smith
labour.market@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456120