Average hourly pay
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1. Main facts and figures
- in 2017, the average (median) hourly pay for White people was £11.34, which was 10p higher than the average hourly pay for people from all other ethnic groups combined
- people from the Indian ethnic group had the highest hourly pay on average earning £13.14, while people from the Pakistani/Bangladeshi ethnic groups earned the lowest, at £9.52 on average
- people from all ethnic groups except for Indian had a lower average hourly pay level than those from the White ethnic group
- between 2013 and 2017, people from the Indian ethnic group had the highest average hourly pay out of all ethnic groups in 4 out of 5 years, while Pakistani and Bangladeshi people consistently had the lowest
The ethnic categories used in this data
The analysis uses the following broad ethnic categories, based on the 2001 Census:
- Other (which includes Chinese, Other Asian and Other ethnic groups)
This analysis distinguishes between the Indian ethnic group, and the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups (which are combined). This reflects the different employment-related outcomes among different Asian ethnic groups, and is in line with other publications on the official labour market statistics website, Nomis.
2. Average hourly pay by ethnicity
|Ethnic minorities (excluding White minorities)||10.07||10.12||10.12||10.69||11.24|
|Other inc Chinese and Other Asian||9.77||9.81||9.88||10.78||11.05|
The data gives estimates of earnings based on the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Annual figures for the hourly pay of ethnic groups are provided here by taking a four-quarter average of estimates from the LFS.
This analysis uses the median to report average hourly pay; mean hourly pay figures are available in the download file. For each ethnic group, if every respondent was lined up in the order of their hourly pay, the median would be the hourly pay of the person in the middle. The mean is worked out by adding up the hourly pay of all respondents and dividing by the number of respondents.
The choice of the 'mean' as a measure of average hourly pay is affected by ‘extreme’ values which may not reflect some of the lower paid people in each ethnic group. ONS has taken steps to reduce this impact particularly where values over £100 may have been given in error. Using the 'median' as a measure of average pay mitigates against extreme values. However, as with the mean, it is less reliable for ethnic groups where there were small numbers of respondents.
The data on employees’ earnings captured by the LFS is thought to be of a lower quality than other sources, such as the Annual Survey of Hours and Earning (ASHE) and the Average Weekly Earnings survey (AWE). This is because employees report the information themselves rather than their employers. However, this analysis uses LFS data because neither ASHE nor AWE collect data on employees’ ethnicity.
The LFS has been held continuously since 1992. It is designed to produce nationally representative results for any 3-month period.
The sample consists of approximately 40,000 UK households and 100,000 individuals per quarter. Respondents are interviewed 5 times at 3-monthly intervals and 20% of the sample is replaced every quarter. Respondents are only asked about their pay in the first and last of these interviews. The response rate for October to December 2017 was 43%.
All surveys carry the risk of biased results if some people are less likely to respond than others. To compensate for this, the responses to this survey have been weighted so they better reflect characteristics of the target population. The weighting scheme was designed so that the sample reflects the target population's age and sex profile, as well as its geographic spread (region and local authority).
Suppression rules and disclosure control
Sample sizes of less than 30 have been suppressed.
Results above £100 an hour have been excluded because they affect the quality of the data.
‘Suppression’ means these figures have not been included in the data, to protect confidentiality and because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions.
Figures have been rounded to the nearest pence.
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Purpose of data source
The main purpose of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) is to provide good quality estimates about the UK workforce. It’s the largest household study in the UK in terms of how many people it’s sent to and how in depth the questions are. It provides the official measures of employment and unemployment.
The survey measures all aspects of people's work, including:
- the education and training needed to equip them for work
- features of their jobs
- unemployment and jobseeking
- income from work and benefits
5. Download the data
Ethnicity, year, median hourly pay, mean hourly pay, denominator (weighted)
6. Related content
Black households were the most likely to have a weekly income of less than £400 in the 3 years to March 2018.
Pakistani households were the most likely to fall into the lowest 2 income groups in the 3 years to March 2018.
Employment by occupation
The Indian ethnic group had the highest percentage of workers in professional occupations (31%) in 2017.