Employee earnings in Northern Ireland 2022

Date published: 26 October 2022

Measures of employee earnings, using data from the Annual Survey for Hours and Earnings (ASHE).

Earnings continue to grow at a similar rate recorded pre-covid

  1. Median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees in April 2022 increased by 2.9% from £575 in 2021 to £592 in 2022. This year’s increase is at a similar rate to the trends seen pre-pandemic.
  2. UK weekly earnings increased by 5.0% to £640. NI had the joint lowest increase in earnings across the 12 UK regions over the year and now ranks third lowest of the regions, with weekly earnings £48 below the UK average in 202
  3. Real weekly earnings in NI showed the largest annual decrease on record (4.5%), following the largest annual increase on record to 2021 (7.0%). Real earnings are now 50p higher than they were in 2019 (0.1%). Real UK weekly earnings decreased over the year to a lesser extent (2.6%), and remain 1.1% below 2019 real earnings.

Private sector pay grows faster than public sector pay

  1. Increases in weekly earnings were recorded for both the public and the private sector (3.1% and 7.3% respectively) over the year. The larger growth in the private sector has led to the smallest percentage difference in 20 years between the two sectors in NI (approximately 30%), as well as between NI and UK earnings in the private sector over the same period.
  2. Real earnings in the public sector showed no growth over the last decade, which was in contrast to growth of 11% in real earnings in the private sector.

Proportion of low-paid jobs in NI is the lowest on record

  1. Around 13% of all jobs in NI were ‘low-paid’ (based on OECD measure of low pay) in 2022. This is the lowest proportion in NI in 20 years but is the third highest proportion of the 12 UK regions.
  2. The proportion of jobs paid below the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW), was 2.0% in 2022. This is almost double the pre-COVID 2019 rate (1.1%), but is well below the 2020 and 2021 rates (11% and 5.8%), where 90% of those below these rates were on furlough.

Gender pay gap in favour of males in NI

  1. The gender pay gap for all employees (regardless of working pattern) in NI is in favour of males. Median hourly earnings (excluding overtime) for females (£12.82) was 4% below those for males (£13.99). This is an increase from the smallest gender pay gap on record in 2021 (4.7%), but is lower than the pre-pandemic rate (10%) and lower than the 15% gap recorded in the UK in the last three years.

Annual earnings increase over the year

  1. Median annual earnings increased by 3.2% for all full-time employees in NI over the year to £30,000, but remained lower than the UK median of £33,000. The highest 10% of earners earned approximately £54,500 and above.

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