​ASHE Data 2021

jamesrooney Nov 16th, 2021

Understandably, given the issues that have faced the labour market this year, the data release came attached with certain caveats, with the ONS stressing that:

  • Interpreting average earnings data is difficult at the moment.
  • There are complexities interpreting earnings data in the current climate.
  • Compositional and base effects are likely to affect the growth rates, as the data for April 2020 was affected by both the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in terms of wages and hours worked in the economy, and also disruption to the collection of data from businesses.
  • Comparisons with 2020 therefore need to be treated with caution, and there should be a focus on long-term trends rather than year on year changes.

Median weekly earnings for full-time employees increased, in nominal terms, by 4.3%, to £611, as compared with 2020.

This is the highest level of growth recorded since 2008.

However, it should be noted that this immediately follows a 12-month period of almost zero growth, with average weekly earnings having increased by just 0.1% in the 2019 survey.

The relaxation of restrictions and the progressive ‘reopening’ of the UK’s economy has been a clear driver of wage growth since last year, with the average number of paid hours increasing by 1.5% between 2020 and 2021, after falling 1.4% between 2019 and 2020.

In a reversal of last year’s trend, earnings growth in the private sector outpaced those in the public sector, with growth of 3.6% and 2.5%, respectively (2020: -0.8% vs 2.5%), again a likely reflection of the ‘rebound’ effect.

The key earnings measure, for many personal injury claimants, is ASHE 6115, this being carers’ earnings.As well as being a major factor in the cost of a claimant’s care, this is also the measure commonly used to escalate periodical payments each year.

ASHE 6115 hourly earnings at the 80th centile (often adopted in periodical payments orders for care and case management) saw growth of 2.32% against last year’s figure, with broadly similar levels of growth also seen across the entire earnings distribution.

The following table summarises the change in each centile:

CPI (the UK governments official measure of price inflation) rose by 1.47% over the same period.

It does of course remain to be seen where earnings and inflation, will head over the next 12 months, but based on these figures at least, any uplift to periodical payments made in 2021 will be positive in real, as well as nominal, terms.