Full-time wages in Northern Ireland rise by 1.2%

By John Campbell
BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

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The increase in Northern Ireland was driven by the private sector

Typical weekly earnings for full-time employees in Northern Ireland increased by 1.2% in real terms over the past year, official figures from NISRA suggest.

It means typical weekly pay rose from £528 to £535.

This is the fourth increase in earnings in the past five years, bringing them close to 2009 levels in real terms.

Between 2009 and 2014 real wages in Northern Ireland fell steeply before starting to recover.

In the UK as a whole, weekly earnings rose by 0.9% in real terms, to £585.

The increase in Northern Ireland weekly earnings over the year was again driven by the private sector, while typical weekly pay in the public sector fell in real terms.

However, the typical public sector employee still earns about a third more (£625) than the typical private sector employee (£479).

Some of the difference between the public and private sector figures are 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.

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.

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The typical public sector employee still earns about a third more

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

The figures also show that the proportion of low-paid jobs in NI is at its lowest in 20 years, at approximately a fifth of all jobs.

However, that is still the highest proportion in any UK region.

Low pay is defined as the value that is two-thirds of typical UK hourly earnings. That was £8.85 in 2019.

Northern Ireland also slipped back down the UK pay charts to second from bottom, above the North East of England.