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Figures reveal significant increase in UK worker bonuses

28 Aug 2015

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that bonuses paid to UK workers have risen to almost the same levels as 2007/08, before the global financial crisis.

During the year 2014/15, the total of all bonus payments in the UK was £42.4bn, a rise of 2.7% on the previous year and in cash terms just 0.1% below the record level reached in 2007/08.

Bonuses in the financial and insurance sector were actually down by £1.5bn on the previous year and still below their pre-downturn levels. But in the rest of the economy bonuses were significantly higher, up 9.7% to £28.8bn, which is £5bn higher than their pre-crisis peak.

According to the ONS, the professional, scientific and technical services industry had the largest increase in bonuses in 2014/15, up £0.9bn on the previous year. Next was the information and communication sector, which saw an increase of £0.5bn.

However, the £1.5bn fall in bonuses in the finance and insurance sector may be partly explained by the timing of bonus payments, because, as the ONS has said: ‘this industry is more prone than others to concentrate their payments into a December-to-March 'bonus season', and in 2013, a number of bonus payments were deferred from March into April.

‘Thus the 2013/14 figure in this sector might have been atypically high, with some employees receiving payments both in April 2013 and March 2014, twice within the same reporting period’.