Total pay for employees in the UK, including bonuses, increased by 1.2% in real terms between the periods of February 2018 to April 2018 and February 2019 to April 2019, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The Average weekly earnings in Great Britain: June 2019 report also found that regular pay, excluding bonus payments, increased by 1.5% in real terms, namely adjusted for consumer price inflation, between February 2018 to April 2018 and February 2019 to April 2019.
In nominal terms, having not been adjusted for consumer price inflation, total pay increased by 3.1% and regular pay rose by 3.4% during the same reporting period.
Lee Biggins, founder and chief executive officer at CV Library, said: “Pay is up year-on-year and while this is good news for working professionals, the picture is less rosy for businesses. After all, we cannot ignore the fact that businesses are struggling to entice potential candidates out of their roles, in turn having no choice but to offer higher pay in order to remain competitive.”
Average regular pay excluding bonus payments for employees in Great Britain was £502 a week in nominal terms, before tax and other deductions from pay, in April 2019. This equates to £468 a week in real terms.
The construction sector has seen the greatest average total pay growth, including bonuses, between February to April 2018 and February to April 2019, with a rate of 4.4%; this compares to 3.1% total pay growth across the economy as a whole. The lowest average total pay growth was recorded in the wholesaling, retailing, hotels and restaurants industry, at 1%.
In some sectors, average weekly bonus pay outpaced the growth in regular pay. For example, in the construction sector, average weekly bonus pay grew by 17.1% during the reporting period, compared to a 4.1% increase in regular pay. In the finance and business services industry, which is the highest sector for bonus payments, they increased by 1.4% between February to April 2018 and February to April 2019, versus an increase in regular pay of 3.9%.
The manufacturing industry and the wholesaling, retailing, hotels and restaurants sector both experienced a fall in bonus payments of 6.2% and 12.8% respectively, while regular pay growth, excluding bonus payments, for these sectors was 2.2% and 2.4% in turn.
Jon Boys, labour market economist at the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD), added: “Wage growth continues to outstrip inflation delivering more money to [employees’] pockets. However, real pay, excluding bonuses, is still £5.70 a week lower than the pre-recession high. Some have benefited more than others.”