Wage rises still failing to keep pace with inflation
Pay rises have failed to keep pace with inflation for the fifth year in a row, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.
Although the average worker’s pay rose by 2.2% in the year to April 2013 (beating last year’s increase of just 1.5%) they are not rising as fast as prices, with inflation remaining high at 2.4%
Average earnings for full-time employees now stand at £517 a week before tax, or £27,000 for the year.
Earnings were highest in London – unsurprisingly – where weekly wages were 27% higher than the average at £658 a week. Wages were lowest in Northern Ireland at £460 – 11% below average.
The research also found that while women, on average, received higher pay rises than men this year, the gender pay gap has continued to widen, with the difference between hourly earnings rising from 9.5% in 2012 to 10% this year.
Donna Obstfeld, managing director of HR practice, DOHR said: “That the gender pay gap increased slightly in is due not only to the nature of the jobs women are in, but also the fact that more and more, after having children, are choosing quality of life over income.
“They are opting for lower level jobs that enable them to have a life outside work and that is no bad thing.”
An increase in the general level of prices that persists over a period of time. The inflation rate is a measure of the average change over a period, usually 12 months. If inflation is up 4%, this means the price of products and services is 4% higher than a year earlier, requiring we spend and extra 4% to buy the same things we bought 12 months ago and that any savings and investments must generate 4% (after any taxes) to keep pace with inflation. Since 2003, the Bank of England has used the consumer prices index (CPI) as its official measure of inflation (see also retail prices index).