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Volume 690: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their estimate of the average wage in (a) Northern Ireland, and (b) the United Kingdom. [HL2600]

The information requested falls within the responsibilities of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician, to Lord Laird, dated 19 March 2007.

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question to ask what the current average wage is in (a) Northern Ireland, and (b) the United Kingdom. (HL2600)

Average earnings are estimated from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) and are provided for full-time employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey period was not affected by absence. This is the standard definition used for the ASHE. The ASHE does not collect data on the self-employed and people who do unpaid work.

I attach tables showing average gross weekly earnings for 2006 for all full-time employees on adult rates. These statistics are already published on the National Statistics website at:

The ASHE, carried out in April of each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. It is a 1 per cent sample of all employees who are members of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) schemes.

Gross weekly (£) pay for full-time employee jobsa by place of work



United Kingdom



Northern Ireland



a Employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey pay period was not affected by absence.

Guide to quality:

The coefficient of variation (CV) indicates the quality of a figure; the smaller the CV value, the higher the quality.

The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV—e.g. for an average of 200 with a CV of 5 per cent, we would expect the population average to be within the range 180 to 220.

All the figures on this table have a CV of less than 5 per cent.

The median replaces the mean as the headline statistic. The weighted mean is the sum of the weighted values divided by the sum of the weights. The median is the value below which 50 per cent of employees fall. It is preferred over the mean for earnings data as it is influenced less by extreme values and because of the skewed distribution of earnings data.

Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, Office for National Statistics.