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Average incomes rising much less than inflation

The median salary for a full-time worker in the UK rose 1.4% in 2011 to £26,244, against a headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate of 5% or higher, according to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings from the Office for National Statistics.

Overall earnings growth was even lower, with the average UK salary increasing just 0.5% on 2010 levels once part-time workers are included.

This was driven by a shift to part-time work as a result of high unemployment and low economic growth: the indicative figures for 2011 included 380,000 fewer full-time workers than a year before, with 72,000 more part-time employees.

Progress in closing the gender pay gap has also slowed, with women in full-time employment earning on average £5,409 less than men - the gap narrowed by £179 in 2010 compared with £558 in 2009.

The headline figures also masked sizeable falls in pay for some of the UK's lowest-earning professions - and sizeable salary boosts for senior managers and directors.

Workers in "elementary occupations", a classification including labourers, farm workers, postal workers and others, saw their typical pay fall 0.9% against its 2010 level, while professional pay rose 1% and managerial salaries rose 0.5%.

Directors and chief executives of leading organisations enjoyed the most sizeable pay rises, with median earnings up 15% to £112,157. Salaries of senior corporate managers also increased substantially - up 7.1% year-on-year to £77,679.

By contrast, the annual pay of waiters and waitresses (mostly part-time workers) fell 11.2% year-on-year to £5,660 - the most substantial drop of any group of workers. Cleaning staff earnings fell 3.4%.

The amount of pay needed to be in the top 10% of full-time earners increased by 1.9% since 2010, to £52,643; while the threshold for the bottom 10% of full-time workers increased 0.6%, to £14,905.

Read the findings of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings from the Office for National Statistics.

Find out more about income inequality in London.

Find out more about income poverty in London.

Find out more about low pay in London.

Posted on 24 November 2011