Fermanagh's workers now lowest paid in Province

Published: 5 Jan 2013 17:000 comments

Workers in Fermanagh are the lowest paid in Northern Ireland, new statistics show.

The median gross weekly wage for the county's 18,000 employees was £264.70, down 3.5 per cent on last year.

If you line up those 18,000 pay packets from the fattest to the thinnest the median would be the one in the middle. It is considered a more accurate reflection of the situation than a simple average. Half the population earn more than the median and half earn less.

A comparison of the 26 District Council areas in Northern Ireland shows that even in Magherafelt, where the median weekly wage fell by 18.8 per cent, workers were still better off on £291.90 than in Fermanagh.

Just up the road in Omagh the median was £294.50 while workers in Belfast had the fattest wage packets with a median of £417.80.

The biggest rise in the median wage was in Ballymoney where it went up by 19.1 per cent to £328.80 a week.

The figures are published in the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings and are based on a sample of 1 per cent of PAYE (Pay As You Earn) wage packets in April 2011.

They show that the median gross weekly earnings for all employees in Northern Ireland in 2011 was £360, some 10.9 per cent lower than the United Kingdom figure of £403.90.

This represented a growth in median earnings for all employees of 1.5 per cent over the year to April 2011, compared to the United Kingdom, where earnings remained static.

A closer look at the Fermanagh figures shows that the county's 11,000 full-time employees had a median wage of £353.30, the lowest in Northern Ireland. The workers of Ballymena topped the table on £507.80.

The county's 9,000 male workers were on a median weekly wage of £321, while in Omagh the figure was £379.30. The men of Down were the poorest on £294 a week while those in Belfast were the richest on £480.

The county's 9,000 female workers saw their median wage drop by 14.6 per cent to £203.20, the lowest in Northern Ireland. Again Belfast topped the league table on £359.40.

The county's 7,000 part-time workers fared no better on £119.80, again the lowest weekly wage in Northern Ireland. Their counterparts in Belfast earned £174.70.

Fermanagh's 7,000 men in full-time employment did a little better, managing £383.20. They were a long way behind the men of Larne on £525.30, who topped the table, but well ahead of the men of Banbridge, who were bottom on £345.30.

The 4,000 women in full-time employment in the county were also slightly better off on a weekly wage of £328.60, compared with their counterparts in Strabane on £300.40. Banbridge women topped the table on £569.40.

Across Northern Ireland full-time employees' median gross weekly earnings at April 2011 were £450.6, which was 90 per cent of the figure in the United Kingdom, £500.70. Full-time earnings increased by 3 per cent over the period, compared to an increase of 0.4 per cent in the United Kingdom.

The median gross weekly part-time earnings in Northern Ireland at April 2011 was £151.60, up 1.7 per cent over the year compared with an increase of 0.2 per cent in the United Kingdom to £154.

Median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees in the Northern Ireland private sector increased at a faster rate - 3.5 per cent to £394.20 - than in the United Kingdom, where growth was 0.8 per cent over the year to £476.20.

This represented a narrowing of the private sector pay gap, from 80.6 per cent of the United Kingdom figure at April 2010 to 82.8 per cent at April 2011.

There has been a narrowing of the gender pay gap for all employees in Northern Ireland over the period 2010 to 2011.

Female median hourly earnings excluding overtime were 91.9 per cent of male earnings at April 2011, compared to 91.2 per cent a year earlier.

The gender pay gap remains less marked than in the United Kingdom, where the equivalent female to male earnings ratio was 80.5 per cent at April 2011.

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