Regular pay tumbles in first quarter of 2022

Wages have fallen between January and March 2022, with only a growth in bonuses keeping total pay growth positive, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.

According to its latest labour force survey, regular pay, excluding bonuses, increased by 4.2% in Q1, while total pay, which includes bonuses, rose by 7%.

But, with inflation running at an average of 6.7% in the first three months of 2022, real total pay grew by just 1.4%.

Real total pay seems to have been spurred by bonuses, however, as regular pay actually contracted by 1.2%.

The labour force survey also revealed a tightening of the UK labour market, with the number of unemployed people falling below the number of job vacancies for the first time.

Hannah Slaughter, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, said:

"People are taking advantage of these [market labour] conditions to move jobs, and employers are responding by paying bonuses to hire or retain key staff.

"But for the vast majority of the workforce, the labour market may feel far less hot."

She added that with inflation having shot up in recent months, "the scale of Britain's wage squeeze is going to get far worse".

Talk to us if you have any concerns about the wage squeeze.