ONS Reports UK Earnings Still Rising

Careers, Employment, News / 01 November 2019 / Simon

According to the latest ONS report, weekly earnings across the UK have continued to rise since last April. Workers in Scotland saw the largest increase, with a 91.4% increase in their weekly wages since last year.

After inflation is accounted for, take-home wages have grown by 0.9% for full-time employees in general. Part-time workers have also benefited from an increase of 5.2% (or 3.1% in real terms).

The research also points out that average earnings are still £18 a week lower than the 2008 peak of £603 per week, however.

ONS Reports UK Earnings Still Rising


Key stats

The following trends were also highlighted:

  • Average weekly earnings for full-time employees were £585 as of April 2019.
  • 35.7% of full-time employees saw a decrease in real-term pay reductions or freezes up to April 2019, which is down from 43.3% the previous year.

The report also noted that the gender pay gap, while continuing to close, has been doing so slowly. In 2018, the gap was 8.6%. It now stands at 8.9%, which is ‘not a statistically significant increase’, according to the ONS.


Part-Time Workers Benefiting the Most

While higher wages for most workers have risen, they still haven’t reached pre-recession levels. It’s a different story for part-time workers, however. Earnings for those working part-time are now 6.5% higher than they were in 2008, with average weekly take-home wages at £197.


Other Considerations

While a general increase in wages is generally positive, it’s important not to overlook some important factors. Low-income sectors have seen the largest pay rises, for example, but taken in context against most other industries, there is a huge difference between the top and bottom earning sectors.

Furthermore, things are getting extremely tight in the job market. Hiring is dropping, and many sectors are now struggling to find any qualified staff.

Some sectors are also seeing wages fall, despite national averages. Social care is a prime example. Even though wages are up on a year by year basis in general, they fell in the last quarter by 2%. Social care job applications have suffered as a result, with only a 0.3% rise year on year. There are other factors certain to be affecting social care application rates of course, including Brexit and working hours, but lower wages aren’t going to help the issue.

Overall then, while averages are useful, it’s important not to overlook the details as well. The difficulties that some sectors are facing are likely to have knock-on effects for the economy, and wages, in the long term after all.

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