Pay by industry over time

  • Published: May 23, 2013

The graph below shows the level of pay in 2013, adjusted for inflation, by sector in the first quarter of each year. We look at regular pay only, which excludes bonuses. The Average Weekly Earnings series published by the Office for National Statistics divides all employees (not self-employed people) into five main sectors – manufacturing, construction, services, hotels, restaurants and distribution and finance and business services. By clicking on “Change since 2000” you can see the percentage increase or decrease in each sector over the course of the last 13 years. 

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Three things stand out. Firstly, the huge gap between the hotels and restaurants sector and the rest of the economy. Regular pay in this sector was £288 per week in 2013, compared to a national average of £443; though much of this gap is due to the sector’s higher proportion of part time work. 

Secondly, when we look at changes over time, all sectors apart from finance are now back where they were in 2000 give or take a percentage point. This wage squeeze is wide ranging, but for those in hotels and restaurants it is worst – they are now earning less than they were in 2000.

Finally, though, since 2009 the fall in wages in the construction sector has been alarming. On the regular pay measure (so excluding bonuses), average pay in construction was slightly higher than even finance and business in 2009. In the first 9 years of the century, pay in construction rose by 17% in real terms. Almost all that increase has been lost in the four years since. There are many commentators now calling for an increase in house building, which would increase construction activity and possibly pay in that sector. 

This interactive graph derives from an earlier blog on the topic. Read the full blog here. Unfortunately, this visualisation cannot be viewed in older versions of Internet Explorer (IE 8 and earlier). You can download a newer version here