UK wages up 6%, but fall in real terms

UK wages up 6%, but fall in real terms

12/15/2022 - 13:04

UK wages rose in the three months to October, but continued falling in real terms amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.  

Figures also revealed that while unemployment is still low, it increased slightly to 3.7%. Meanwhile the number of open job vacancies fell by 65,000 to 1.19 million.  

The Office for National Statistics figures show that both average total pay (including bonuses) and regular pay (excluding bonuses) increased by 6.1% between August and October 2022.  

However, the data shows that workers are actually worse off when recent price rises are taken into account.  

In real terms, overall total and regular pay fell by 2.7%.  

Figures also show a widening gap between public sector and private sector pay.  

Average regular pay growth for workers in the private sector was 6.9% between August and October, while public sector workers only saw a 2.7% pay rise. 

This is the biggest recorded difference in wage growth between  the public  and private sectors.    

The ONS data release coincides with widespread strike action in the UK, with rail, mail, healthcare, and many other public sector workers striking or threatening to walk out over pay and conditions.  

The new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt argues that the government needs to prioritise cutting inflation, rather than awarding public sector pay increases.   

He said: “While unemployment in the UK remains close to historic lows, high inflation continues to plague economies around the world as we manage the impacts of Covid-19 and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“To get the British economy back on track, we have a plan which will help to more than halve inflation next year – but that requires some difficult decisions now. Any action that risks embedding high prices into our economy will only prolong the pain for everyone, and stunt any prospect of long-term economic growth.” 

Miles Grady, Director of, said: “These wage growth figures should make interesting reading for employees and flexible workers.  

“Inflation rose by more than 11% in the 12 months to October. Any pay increase that doesn’t keep pace with this figure will leave you worse off overall, so make sure you bear this in mind when you’re speaking to recruiters or businesses in search of your next role.” 

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