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Bonus payments up 4.9% on last year at £40.5 billion

Released: 29 August 2014 Download PDF

Total bonus payments received across the whole economy during the period May 2013 to April 2014 were £40.5 billion – an increase of 4.9% compared with a year earlier – according to the annual article on bonuses from ONS. Of the total, £14.4 billion was paid in the finance and insurance industry, which increased by 2.9% over the year, and £26.1 billion in the rest of the economy, up 6.1%.

Across the economy as a whole, bonuses have increased to 6.0% of total pay in the year to April 2014. This is the highest level seen since before the economic downturn, when bonuses made up 7.1% of total pay in the year to April 2008. In the finance and insurance industry, however, bonuses contributed nearly one quarter of total pay in the year to April 2014 at 24.2%. This is up from 23.6% of total pay on the previous year. However, this is still below the peak in the year to April 2007, when bonuses made up 33.9% of total pay in this industry.

The average bonus per employee in the finance and insurance industry was £13,300. This was an increase of £700 compared with the previous year’s average. Mining and quarrying (including oil extraction and exploration) was the industry with the second highest average bonus, at £7,000 per employee, although this was a decrease of £300 compared with the previous year. The lowest bonuses per employee were paid in education and health & social work, where the bonuses per head figures were negligible.

Bonus payments in the private sector increased by 5.8% to £39.1 billion in May 2013-April 2014, while in the public sector they decreased by 16.3% to £1.3 billion. This is partly due to the privatisation of Royal Mail in October 2013. The average private sector employee received just over £1,800 in bonuses, approximately seven times higher than the average public sector worker’s bonus of just below £300. However, private sector workers have lower average regular pay than people working in the public sector, and their bonuses are a more significant part of total pay than in the public sector.

Background notes

  1. The report is on the ONS website at:
  2. All figures are derived from the Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) dataset, part of the monthly Labour Market Statistics release.
  3. These figures are not seasonally adjusted and are not adjusted for inflation. They do not include the self-employed, HM Forces or government-supported trainees.
  4. Previous years’ articles have focused on pay over the financial year – April to the following March. However, in 2013 many firms that normally pay bonuses every March reported doing so in April instead, probably as a result of deferring payment till after the change in tax rates. This year’s article therefore focuses on the period May 2013-April 2014, with like-for-like comparisons in earlier years, so as to avoid this distortion. However, it also includes analysis on the previous financial year basis as well.
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  6. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the media relations office.
  7. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. © Crown copyright 2014.


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