Private sector pay falls for first time in eight years

Private sector pay has fallen for the first time since official records began eight years ago while public sector pay continues to rise, according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

With pay and bonuses being frozen in the economic downturn, the average weekly wage for a private sector worker fell by 3.4% in January to £448, compared with a year ago when it stood at £463.80. They are now being paid £822 a year less than in 2008 – the annual fall since the ONS began recording the data in 2001.

There is better news for public sector workers however, with the ONS’s Average Weekly Earnings data showing an annual rise in pay of 3.4%, equating to an extra £749 a year. Public sector employees are now being paid an average of £441 a week.

Pay in the private services industry has been hardest, with workers experiencing a 5% drop in pay from January 2008.