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How average wages compare by age and region across the UK

Abigail Fenton
·2-min read
(Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images)
Brits earned a median of 4.9% less in April than during 2008. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images.

Many UK workers have seen a significant hit to their incomes this year, as the coronavirus crisis has hammered the economy.

But while some sectors and age groups have been much worse affected than others, the UK went into the pandemic with stark pre-existing disparities in earnings already.

Analysis by House of Commons researchers found full-time workers in the UK took home a median wage of £586 a week.

When adjusted for inflation — to obtain a “real terms” figure — the figure for April, the most recent month analysed, was 4.9% less than it was during 2008.

(ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2020)
(ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2020)

London workers unsurprisingly earned the most, with a median weekly pay of £716, the data shows.

Yet despite coming second with a weekly wage of about £632, the south-east has seen the biggest drop in median earnings since 2008 “in real terms”, with employees receiving about 7% less once adjusted for inflation.

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Workers in the east of England took home the third-biggest pay packets in the UK, with a median weekly wage of £605.

Meanwhile, those in the north-east earned the least, at a median weekly wage of just £524 a week.

(Commons Library)
(ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2020)

Northern Ireland followed only slightly higher at £529 a week, and Yorkshire and the Humber workers were the third lowest earners with just £540 a week.

Nearly all countries and regions across the UK have seen median weekly pay struggle to recover when adjusted for inflation since the global financial crisis, with wages squeezed in its aftermath.

An exception is Scotland, but wages still saw only a small real-terms increase of less than 1%.

(ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2020)
(ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2020)

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Workers in their 40s take home the biggest pay packets of all age groups, with a median wage of £698 a week.

Meanwhile, 16- to 17-year-olds unsurprisingly earn the least, at an average of just £201 a week.

Although 18 to 21-year-olds earn the second-least at about £350 a week, real-terms median wages for this age group are 1% higher than prior to the 2008 recession, while those for all older groups remained lower as of April, the figures showed.

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