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Northern Ireland earnings increase faster than UK

Figures released today showed Northern Ireland full-time weekly private sector earnings increased by 3.5% over the year compared to 0.8% in the UK.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011

This resulted in a narrowing of the Northern Ireland - UK private sector pay gap (by 2.2 percentage points) to 82.8% at April 2011.

Results from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) showed that gross weekly earnings for all NI employees (full- and part-time) increased by 1.5% over the year. Earnings in the UK remained the same.

Commenting on the figures, Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster said: "Northern Ireland has experienced rising levels of pay over the year to April 2011 and this was more marked that of the UK. Whilst these figures are to be welcomed, it is recognised that in order to promote economic recovery, the private sector requires more highly paid jobs.

“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. It also contains commitments to supporting the formation of 25,000 new jobs, attracting more foreign investment, as well as supporting R&D to help our entrepreneurs innovate.”

The Minister concluded: “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.”

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings press release can be accessed via the DETI websitelink to external website

Notes to editors:

  1. Weekly earnings for all NI employees (full and part-time considered together) over the year to April 2011 increased by 1.5% to £360.0, compared to the UK where earnings remained relatively the same at £403.9.
  2. NI full-time employees also experienced faster growth in their gross weekly earnings over the year to April 2011 relative to the UK (NI growth: 3.0% to £450.6; UK growth: 0.4% to £500.7).
  3. This trend also continued for part-time employees in NI who experienced a 1.7% increase in earnings to £151.6 (UK: 0.2% to £154.0).
  4. Median hourly earnings (excluding overtime) for all NI employees increased by 2.7% to £9.96 over the year to April 2011, while comparable UK earnings increased by 0.7% to £11.15.
  5. Northern Ireland full time median hourly earnings (excluding overtime) increased between April 2010 and 2011 (by 3.2% to £11.14) while comparable part-time earnings decreased (by 2.5% to £7.80).
  6. NI private sector full-time median gross weekly earnings increased at a faster rate (3.5%) than in the UK, where growth was 0.8% over the year. The equivalent part-time earnings grew by 3.8% in NI compared to a 0.6% increase in the UK. This resulted in a narrowing of the NI/UK private sector pay gap (by 2.2 percentage points) to 82.8% at April 2011. This is similar to the pay gap last reported in 2007 (82.7%).
  7. Growth in NI public sector full-time gross weekly earnings (3.9%) was slightly above that in the private sector (3.5%) over the year to April 2011. NI public sector full-time earnings continued to be noticeably higher (41.5%) than in the private sector. This was more marked than in the UK, where public sector earnings were 16.7% higher than in the private sector. It should be noted that certain banks are now included in public sector figures in both NI and the UK.
  8. The full-time ratio of female to male hourly earnings excluding overtime has also increased to 102.0% (UK: 90.9%). In 2010 this figure was 100.5%. The part-time gender ratio followed a similar trend and increased to 104.8% in 2011, from 97.4% in 2010. These ratios are largely influenced by earnings in the public sector (full-time public sector ratio: 104.3%, part-time public sector ratio: 102.1%).
  9. The overall increase in median earnings has to be seen in the context of continuing job losses over the period. The QES indicated that the total number of employee jobs in Northern Ireland decreased by 9,000 from March 2010 to March 2011. This represents a decrease of 1.3% over the period.


  1. More detailed statistical information, and definitions of the methodology used, can be found in the Northern Ireland Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2011 Statistics Bulletin and Statistical Press Release
  2. For media enquiries, please contact DETI Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
  3. General information can be obtained from Mark McFetridge, Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch, on Tel: 028 9052 9385.