Wed, 30 Nov 2022

Employee Earnings in Northern Ireland: October 2022

Northern Ireland Executive
26 Oct 2022, 21 GMT+10

Employee Earnings in Northern Ireland, from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2022, was published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.

Employee Earnings in Northern Ireland

The report provides provisional estimates for 2022 and final revised estimates for 2021.

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

  • Median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees in April 2022 increased by 2.9% from Pound 575 in 2021 to Pound 592 in 2022. This year's increase is at a similar rate to the trends seen pre-pandemic.
  • UK weekly earnings increased by 5.0% to Pound 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 Pound 48 below the UK average in 2022.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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 (Pound 12.82) was 8.4% below those for males (Pound 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

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

Commentary

  • Median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees in NI increased by 2.9% over the year. NI earnings in 2022 were 11% higher than the pre-pandemic position (2019), which was the highest increase of all UK regions.
  • Real weekly earnings in NI recorded the largest annual decrease on record (4.5%) to 2022, which follows the largest increase on record to 2021 (7.0%). Real earnings are 0.1% higher than the pre-COVID position in 2019 and 4.2% higher than they were a decade ago. When considering public and private sector earnings over the last decade, the public sector showed no growth in real earnings, which is in contrast to growth of 11% in the private sector.
  • The proportion of low-paid jobs in NI fell over the year to a record low (13%), where the proportion has generally been falling since the introduction of the National Living Wage in 2016. However, despite these improvements, NI had the third highest proportion of all regions in the UK in 2022.

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