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Record £44.3bn paid out in bonuses as average UK worker pockets around £1,600

Published 15/09/2016

Workers in the financial and insurance industry were awarded bonuses averaging £13,400, ONS figures show
Workers in the financial and insurance industry were awarded bonuses averaging £13,400, ONS figures show

More than £44 billion was paid out in bonuses in the last financial year - the highest figure on record.

While the average bonus for UK employees was around £1,600, workers in the financial and insurance industry were awarded sums averaging £13,400.

People employed in health and social work had the lowest average bonus of close to zero.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that total bonus payments rose 4.4% in 2015/16 to a record £44.3 billion.

Workers in finance and insurance saw their bonuses increase by an average of £300.

The ONS said the rise was due largely to firms moving away from deferring bonuses to April and instead paying them in March.

Private sector employees received on average just over £1,900 in bonuses, while public sector workers had a bonus that averaged just over £100.

Other industries that received comparatively large bonuses included mining and quarrying (an average of £7,200), information and communication (£4,600) and chemical manufacturing (£3,300).

By contrast, people working in accommodation and food services were awarded bonuses of around £400, while employees in public administration and education received £100.

The ONS noted that bonuses often form a significant part of the total pay of private sector workers, who on average receive lower regular pay than people in the public sector.

The figures come as a new survey suggests more than a third of UK finance professionals working at a company with a bonus scheme believe the payouts are "undeserved".

A global poll of 6,500 financial decision-makers published by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) also found that 62% of UK professionals felt unjustified bonuses fuelled resentment among colleagues, with the level reaching 97% among workers in the North East.

Tony Manwaring, CIMA's executive vice-president, external affairs, said: "If customers and stakeholders perceive a company to be paying exorbitant sums to its employees, it will effect that company's reputation and erode the trust in which they are held. This is something we saw time and again following the financial crisis."

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