Average pay rises in the UK increased from 1.5% to 2.2% in the year to April 2013, however earnings are still rising slower than the inflation rate of 2.4%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) released on Thursday.
ASHE provides information about the levels, distribution and make-up of earnings and hours worked for employees in all industries and occupations. The survey is based on a 1% sample of employee jobs taken from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) PAYE records. Information on earnings and hours is obtained from employers and treated confidentially, however ASHE does not cover the self-employed. The earnings information relates to gross pay before tax, National Insurance or other deductions.
Despite the median average full-time annual wage rising by GBP500 to GBP27, 000, the ONS said this is the fifth successive year that wage rises have failed to keep pace with inflation.
The gender pay gap also widened from 9.5% to 10%. Median gross annual earnings for men were GBP29,300, up 1.9% from 2012, while average earnings for women were GBP23,600. The ONS data shows that more women work in part-time jobs compared to men and the recovery in employment up to April 2013 was said to be due to part-time work, which probably led to a lower gross figure.
In spring this year, the figures indicate that 10% of full-time employees earned less than GBP7.28 per hour (excluding overtime) and ONS found there were 203,000 jobs held by over-21s with pay less than the national minimum wage, reportedly breaching rules on low pay.
At the top of the pay scale, the ONS figures showed that 10% of full-time employees earned over GBP27.02 per hour, an increase of 1.5% compared to the year before. Full-time employees in London received the highest median gross weekly earnings at GBP658, while the lowest was GBP460 per week in Northern Ireland, in April 2013.