Northern Ireland

NI earnings fall as UK average rises

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The earnings of a typical full-time employee in Northern Ireland fell by 1.4% this year, a government survey has suggested.

In comparison, a typical full-time employee in the UK as a whole saw their wages rise by 0.1%, a figure still well below the rate of inflation.

A typical full-time worker in Northern Ireland earned about £24,000, compared to just under £27,000 across the UK.

The details are contained in the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.

The UK-wide survey of employers is based on a 1% sample of employee jobs.

It is drawn from HM Revenue and Customs' Pay As You Earn (PAYE) records.

Same job

A typical full-time employee in Northern Ireland has the lowest gross weekly earnings across the UK regions.

The West Midlands was the only other region to experience a decline in full-time earnings over the year.

This is the second year in a row that a typical full-time employee in Northern Ireland has seen wages fall.

The number of people in work has been growing over the last year. In Northern Ireland, full-time jobs increased by 2.9%.

As people who have just entered the workforce tend to be on lower wages, the survey also looks at full-time employees who had been in the same job for at least a year.

Workers in that category saw their annual earnings grow by 0.3%, which is still below the rate of inflation.

The survey also suggests that 10% of full-time employees earned more than £43,200 a year, while 10% earned less than £13,200.

Sector gap

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's public sector full-time earnings continued to be significantly higher than in the private sector - the difference is just over 41%.

Women in particular benefit in the public sector, earning 68% more than their private sector counterparts.

The public/private sector gap is much more marked than in the UK overall, where public sector full-time earnings were 17% higher than in the private sector.

However, the statisticians who compiled the report cautioned that some of the difference between the public and private sector figures were likely due to differences in the composition of the respective workforces.

Many of the lowest paid occupations, such as hospitality and retail, exist almost exclusively in the private sector, while in the public sector there is a larger proportion of graduate-level and professional occupations.

Gender trends

The figures also suggest a continuing trend of full-time female workers in Northern Ireland earning more than their male counterparts.

In 2012, the female/male hourly earnings ratio reached parity; in 2013 it tipped slightly in favour of women, and that trend has continued.

Typical female full-time hourly earnings excluding overtime were 103.2% of male earnings in 2014, compared to 101.5% a year earlier.

Full-time male earnings in Northern Ireland continued to be the lowest of any UK region.

However, full-time female earnings were fourth highest amongst the regions, with only women in London, the South East and Scotland earning more.

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