Northern Ireland

NI wages increase faster than in the rest of the UK

Image caption The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings shows the gross average salary in NI is almost £19,000

Northern Ireland's full-time weekly private sector earnings have increased faster than those in the rest of the UK.

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), published on Wednesday, showed NI earnings increased by 3.5% over the year compared to 0.8% on the mainland.

The figures, which cover the year to April 2011, showed the gross average salary in Northern Ireland is £18,720.

The gross average for part-timers is £7,883 and for full-timers is £23,431

The private sector median (those right in the middle of the income scale) was revealed to be almost £9,000 less than the public sector median at £29,011, although certain banks are now included in public sector figures in both NI and the rest of the UK.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed the figures but said more highly paid jobs in the private sector were required to promote economic recovery.

"The draft Programme for Government highlights the Executive's intention to deliver the right support to enable the private sector to experience high value-added growth," she said.

"It also contains commitments to supporting the formation of 25,000 new jobs, attracting more foreign investment, as well as supporting research and development to help our entrepreneurs innovate.

"Economic recovery in a rapidly changing global economic environment will be challenging.

"Our targets are ambitious and I make no apologies for that, as I believe that with the right support, local businesses can grow and prosper in these hard times."

Lower salaries

Weekly median earnings for all NI employees including those in full and part-time employment increased by 1.5% to £360, compared to the UK where earnings remained stagnant.

Despite this, Northern Ireland still continues to have much lower salaries.

The figures revealed it has the lowest full-time gross weekly median earnings at £451. This is in contrast to London, where employees earn almost £200 more per week.

Managers and senior officials experienced the largest increase with an above inflation rise in earnings of 6.6%

Average earnings for those in jobs related to the building trade showed a fall.

The figures are produced by the NI Statistics and Research Agency and the Office of National Statistics.