Other commentary from the latest labour market data can be found on the following pages:Back to table of contents
Estimated annual growth in average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain was 3.8% for both total pay (including bonuses) and regular pay (excluding bonuses).
In real terms (after adjusting for inflation), annual growth in total pay is estimated to be 1.9% and annual growth in regular pay is estimated to be 2.0%.
All sectors except manufacturing saw annual pay growth of at least 3.0%; this compares with Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) of under 2.0%.
Public sector pay growth has fallen back below that for the private sector, following higher growth in March to May 2019, impacted by the effect of a different pattern of pay rises for some NHS staff in 2019 compared with 2018.
The rate of pay growth has trended upwards since March to May 2017, to be close to 4%, which is the highest nominal pay growth rate since 2008. However, in June to August 2019, growth dropped slightly to 3.8% for both total pay and regular pay.
In real terms, annual pay growth has been positive since December 2017 to February 2018 and is now 1.9% for total pay and 2% for regular pay.
For August 2019, average regular pay, before tax and other deductions, for employees in Great Britain was estimated at:
£509 per week in nominal terms
£472 per week in real terms (constant 2015 prices), higher than the estimate for a year earlier (£462 per week), but £1 (0.3%) lower than the pre-recession peak of £473 per week for April 2008
The equivalent figures for total pay in real terms are £502 per week in August 2019 and £525 in February 2008, a 4.4% difference.
Between June to August 2018 and June to August 2019, average pay growth varied by industry sector:
construction saw the highest estimated growth of over 5.5% for both total pay and regular pay
manufacturing saw the lowest growth, estimated at 2.7% for total pay and 2.5% for regular pay
The pattern of higher growth in construction, and finance and business services, and lower growth in manufacturing, and wholesaling, retailing, hotels and restaurants has been evident throughout 2019.
Between June to August 2018 and June to August 2019, public sector annual total pay grew by 3.5%, down from 4.0% two months earlier.
This public sector pay growth pattern is impacted by the timing of NHS pay rises, which saw some April 2018 pay increases not being paid until summer 2018. As a result, public sector pay estimates for the months April to July 2019 include two NHS pay raises for 2018 and 2019 when compared with 2018. Further, the single month of April 2019 included a one-off payment to some NHS staff.Back to table of contents
Average weekly earnings
Dataset EARN01 | Released 15 October 2019
Headline estimates of earnings growth in Great Britain (seasonally adjusted).
Average weekly earnings by sector
Dataset EARN02 | Released 15 October 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 15 October 2019
Estimates earnings in Great Britain broken down by detailed industrial sector (not seasonally adjusted).
|Including bonuses (Jan to Apr)¹²||Including bonuses (May to Dec)¹²||Excluding bonuses¹|
|Whole economy||± 0.9||± 0.5||± 0.5|
|Private sector||± 0.9||± 0.6||± 0.5|
|Public sector||± 0.9||± 0.5||± 0.5|
|Services||± 1.0||± 0.6||± 0.5|
|Finance and business services||± 2.8||± 1.6||± 1.4|
|Public sector excluding financial services||± 0.7||± 0.5||± 0.5|
|Manufacturing||± 1.1||± 1.0||± 0.9|
|Construction||± 2.5||± 2.6||± 2.4|
|Wholesale and retail, hotels and restaurants||± 2.1||± 1.7||± 1.5|
Download this table Table 1: Sampling variability for average weekly earnings single month growth rates (percentage points).xls .csv
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).
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.Back to table of contents
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.Back to table of contents
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.Back to table of contents
Labour market economic commentary Article | Released 15 October 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 13 September 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.
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
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