This page contains data and analysis published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from 2 to 6 November 2020. Go to our live page for the most up-to-date insights on COVID-19.

3 November 2020

Hospitality workers see largest fall in pay

Measures of employee earnings, using data from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), have been published today, relating to the pay period that includes 22 April 2020, at which time approximately 8.8 million employees were furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Median weekly pay for full-time employees was £586 in April 2020, up by 0.1% on a year earlier; pay fell in the private sector (negative 0.6%) but not in the public sector (positive 2.4%). The fall in the private sector reflects the different job types across each sector and the extent they have been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

While pay held up for most employees, there are groups of employees who fared less well, most notably younger employees, the lowest-paid part-time employees, and those working in accommodation and food services.

Employees aged 16 to 17 and 18 to 21 years were more impacted than other employees in terms of hours paid for, which fell by 5.4% and 3.7% respectively compared with 2019.

The effect that the CJRS had in April is clear. Employees being placed on the scheme prevented paid hours falling at the rate shown by the actual number of hours worked, as reported in the Labour Force Survey (LFS). A subsequent downward pressure on weekly earnings from a fall in hours was largely suppressed.

Across all industry sectors, paid hours fell by 1.5% from 2019 and median weekly pay was unchanged. However, in accommodation and food services, paid hours fell by 12% and weekly pay fell by 18.1% compared with 2019.

Younger workers and those working in accommodation and food services were more likely to be furloughed and were also less likely to have their pay topped up by their employer when compared with other furloughed employees.

2 November 2020

1 in 10 city region workers are in elementary occupations most affected by COVID-19 restrictions

Millions of workers have been away from their jobs because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with many businesses having temporarily closed or reduced operating hours in line with measures to contain the virus.

As a result, the number of people temporarily away from paid work in April to June 2020 increased by 5.1 million compared with the same period last year. Around one-third of people in elementary occupations (33.7%) were away from their job in April to June, the highest proportion of any occupation type. Many of these would have been furloughed, although our Labour Force Survey could not directly capture those furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (those statistics are published by HM Revenue and Customs).

We explored the characteristics of people employed in various occupations across UK city regions using the 2019 Annual Population Survey, to help understand the possible impacts of the coronavirus on local workforces.

Elementary administration and service workers – including postal workers, cleaners, security personnel, shelf fillers, hospital porters, waiting and bar staff – made up 10% of employed people across all city regions (the most of any job type). The city regions with the most workers in this occupation group in 2019 were the Greater London Authority (346,000 people), West Midlands Combined Authority (140,000 people) and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (132,000 people).

Some of the people in these occupations (hospital porters, postal workers, shelf fillers and cleaners) have been able to carry on providing essential services throughout the pandemic. However, a significant proportion of those in “other elementary service occupations” (including kitchen and catering assistants, waiters and waitresses, and bar staff) have been affected by national and local closures of hospitality services, as well as early closing times. In 2019, 1.1 million UK employees belonged to this sub-group.

The elementary administration and service occupation group had the largest young workforce across the UK in 2019, with those aged 16 to 34 years most likely to be away from work (furloughed or otherwise) in April to June 2020. More than half of workers in West of England Combined Authority, Swansea Bay City Region and West Yorkshire were aged 16 to 34 years.

Detailed tables and geographic definitions of UK city regions are available in a user requested dataset. These include occupation breakdowns by sex, industry and ethnicity. We have also published more detailed city-level information about self-employment.

For further information on occupation groups, see the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) Hierarchy.


  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) roundup

    Catch up on the latest data and analysis related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on our economy and society.