Press release

Government to increase pay transparency

Vince Cable announces plans to launch an online tool that will make it easier to find out how much people are paid.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Business Secretary Vince Cable today (20 March 2015) announced plans to launch an online tool that will make it easier to find out how much people are paid in different occupations, sectors and regions across the UK. The aim is that the increased transparency will see the wages of people on low pay increase.

The information will be made available online through the National Minimum Wage Accelerator, giving businesses and individuals unprecedented clarity around pay levels.

The data will display information about pay in full-time and part-time roles across every level in every sector. Users will be able to see general pay trends across the UK, as well as being equipped with factual data that will enable them to discuss their pay with their own employers.

Around 5 million workers across the UK are paid in the bottom 20% of wages; until this data is available, people may be unaware that they fall into this category. Some 25% of workers who receive the National Minimum Wage are not working in low-paying sectors, suggesting that many of their employers may be able to raise wages without damage to their business.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

We know there is a persistent problem with low pay in some sectors of the economy, and areas of the UK. The minimum wage system is necessary and right, but is a minimum by definition.

Good employers want to be responsible and reward their staff as much as they can afford in order to attract the best people and have a happy, motivated and productive workforce.

By making it easier to compare salaries we can encourage businesses to consider whether they can increase levels of pay, or work with their employees to provide a path out of low pay.

Employees will be able to compare their wages with others in their sector and region to determine whether they are on an appropriate rate for their current role. They will also be able to compare their wages with those in pay bands above their own, in different sectors to see what opportunities are available to increase their wages.

Notes to editors

  1. The main data source for the National Minimum Wage Accelerator is the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). ASHE is a large dataset which provides an array of individual and geographic characteristics. As the information is provided by the employer rather than self-reported by the employee it is thought to be a more accurate source of information.
  2. Additional data is provided through the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which provides information on earnings by region and sector including information on the earnings distribution. This is thought to be less accurate as it relies on self-reported information but it has a rich source of information on individual characteristics.
  3. Additionally, the Apprentice Pay Survey (APS) provides self-reported information on apprentice pay across England, Wales and Scotland.
Published 20 March 2015