Average salary up £1,464 since last January

Average salary has soared by almost £1,500 in the last year, official data has revealed.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today included an estimate that median monthly pay across the UK was £2,050 in January 2022.

This is up 6.3% from the same month last year, an increase of £122 per month or the equivalent of £1,464 per year.

Pay growth is now above levels seen immediately before the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the ONS said.

Median pay grew fastest over the past year in the sector defined as “other service activities” and slowest in the education sector.

In January 2022, median monthly pay ranged from £391 for under 18s to £2,409 for those aged 35 to 49.

Matt Weston, senior district director for the UK, Ireland, UAE and Benelux at recruiter Robert Half, said demand for talent was significantly outstripping supply in many sectors at present.

“This shortage of workers is pushing salaries up,” he said. “Businesses in need of talent have little other choice if they want to compete.”

However Weston added that pay was not the only factor that job candidates consider when choosing between roles. “A good benefits package or strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies can make a difference,” he said.

ONS estimates indicate that the number of payrolled employees rose by 4.8% in the year to last month. The number of people in employment was 1.5% higher in January 2022 than in the pre-pandemic month of February 2020, according to the provisional data.

Niki Turner Harding, senior vice president at recruiter Adecco UK and Ireland, said another month of increased employment figures did “little to alleviate the pressures on the UK labour market”.

“Employers are unlikely to heed the Bank of England chief’s recent call to employ restraint when it comes to wages,” she added. “The developing cost-of-living crisis is a factor here, as is the reality that better pay offers are a priority in the ongoing battle for talent.”

A separate publication also released by the ONS this morning showed that the last three months of 2021 represented the first quarter since the pandemic began in which output per worker was above pre-Covid levels.