The jobs seeing the biggest – and smallest – pay increases

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UK, London, blurred motion of incidental business people walking to work with view of the financial district behind
People working in finance and insurance have seen the biggest increase in pay. (Getty)

People working in finance and insurance have seen the biggest increase in their pay in the last year, according to official figures.

The sector benefited from a 19.7% pay rise, compared to 1.6% for arts and entertainment, data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed.

It comes as the latest data showed UK workers were getting a real-terms pay cut as the cost of living crisis tightened.

Read more: Iceland selling veg for just 1p until Thursday to help with cost of living crisis

The finance and insurance industry has benefited from a median 19.7% pay rise.
The finance and insurance industry has benefited from a median 19.7% pay rise.

Monthly median pay in March 2022 by sector ranged from £1,377 in arts and entertainment to £3,711 in finance and insurance.

The UK median pay is currently £2,067 per month, according to the report.

Meanwhile, figures showed UK workers suffered the biggest fall in their real pay for nearly nine years.

The ONS said regular pay excluding bonuses tumbled 1.8% in the three months to February when considering soaring inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) – the steepest fall since August to October 2013.

The ONS added real pay was now “falling noticeably”, with figures for February alone showing regular wages dropped 2.1% after inflation, which was the biggest drop since August 2013.

Read more: Cost of living: Brits more worried about personal finances than catching COVID

When compared with CPIH, which includes owner occupiers’ housing costs and is the ONS’s preferred measure of inflation, real regular wages fell 1% in the three months to February.

While pay rose 4% in the quarter, it was far outstripped by inflation and experts have warned wages will lag even further behind rising prices this year as inflation is expected to rocket in the autumn.

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: “While strong bonuses continue to mitigate the effects of rising prices on people’s total earnings, basic pay is now falling noticeably in real terms.”

Watch: Cost of living: Real wages fall by 1% as pay fails to keep up with inflation

Ellie Henderson at Investec Economics cautioned the jobs market may slow as cost pressures mount.

She said: “Although there is currently a vast amount of vacancies, hiring confidence can quickly be dented if the high inflationary environment results in households cutting back expenditure while firms struggle with rising costs.

The UK’s economic forecasters, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), recently warned that households will suffer the biggest fall in real incomes since records began in 1956, with a drop of more than 2.2% this year.

Everyday costs have risen sharply in recent months, combined with energy bills, tax hikes, and rising inflation, all putting financial pressure on households.

New research showed more people in the UK were concerned about the cost of living squeeze than about coronavirus.

In total, 38% were worried about money and paying bills, an increase of 32% in January — the highest level since the pandemic's start in early 2020.

This compared to 33% who are concerned about getting COVID-19, which was down from 40%, according to researchers at University College London (UCL).

A new poll revealed that most people thought chancellor Rishi Sunak was doing a bad job handling the cost-of-living crisis.

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