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Earnings and hours of work

The information on this page was compiled before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has had a significant impact on many aspects of daily life.  Data and intelligence are emerging all the time about the effects of the virus and the measures taken to control its spread.  Accordingly, we will update this page as relevant information becomes available.

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) provides data on earnings for employees: gross annual, weekly and hourly pay (including and excluding overtime) and hours worked (including and excluding overtime).  It also provides a breakdown of earnings by gender and full/part-time workers; available down to local authority level and for parliamentary constituencies.  Earnings by occupation and industry are available but only at a national level.  In addition to this data set, data on personal incomes is available for residents from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) including income from employment, self-employment and pensions.

The data is produced on both a workplace and residence basis.

Workplace based – all people who work in Herefordshire regardless of which county they live in.

Residence based – all people who live in Herefordshire including those who work outside the county.


This analysis looks at median gross weekly pay (£/week) of full-time employees on a workplace basis. The median is used here in preference to the mean as a measure of the average, as the mean can be skewed by a small number of very high value earners. Since the hours worked by part-time employees cover a broad range (anything up to 35 hours per week) it is not meaningful to provide an average figure for part-time earnings. The proportion of part-time workers also varies across different authorities, making it difficult to compare earnings in a meaningful way.

Figure 1: Weekly earnings

Infographic showing average weekly earnings in 2019 (£506.50 per week)

The median weekly earnings for people who work in Herefordshire were £506.50 (± £40.70), significantly lower than those in the West Midlands region £552.50 (± £9.75) and England £591.40 (± £2.32).

Annualised [1] earnings were £26,410 (± £2,122) also significantly lower than the West Midlands region, £28,809 (± £508) and England £30,837 (± £121). Weekly earnings for residents were £519.90 (±43.82), significantly lower compared to England although the difference was not significant compared with the West Midlands region.

HMRC data for taxpayers shows that the median income from employment was £22,500 in 2016 -17 (the latest available) compared to £22,400 across the West Midlands region. This is residence based and doesn’t account for the hours people work. The median earnings from self-employment were £12,300 compared to £12,800 across the West Midlands, although the difference was not statistically significant.  

Figure 2: Earnings gap in 2019*

Infographic showing the 2019 earnings gap between Herefordshire and the West Midlands region and Herefordshire and England

In 2019, Herefordshire’s earnings were 8% lower than in the West Midlands region and 14% lower than in England. The gap between Herefordshire's earnings and those in the West Midlands region and England narrowed slightly in 2019 compared to last three years. Herefordshire’s weekly earnings have grown by 30% since the recession has been declared in 2008. The regional and national weekly earnings show a lower growth (23% and 22% respectively).

Figure 3:  Weekly earnings for Herefordshire, the West Midlands region and England, 2008 to 2019.

Trend in gross weekly earnings for Herefordshire, the WEst Midlands and England between 2008 and 2019.

Source: ASHE 2019* provisional, ONS—Crown Copyright
Herefordshire has the lowest median earnings of all 14 West Midlands authorities as has been the case for the past eight years. Earnings are also lower than in Monmouthshire, Powys and Gloucestershire, and fourth lowest out of the nearest neighbour grouping of local authorities. However, Herefordshire is no longer among the 10 lowest earning upper tier authorities.

Looking at ASHE, the range of earnings between the 2nd and 8th deciles shows Herefordshire to have the lowest range of earnings out of any of the West Midlands authorities. As well as having a lower range of earnings compared to the West Midlands and England, each of the deciles are also lower, although the difference is not statistically significant.

Figure 4:  Range of weekly earnings for Herefordshire, the West Midlands region and England, broken down by decile.

Chart showing the range of gross weekly earnings in Herefordshire, the West Midlands and England and the median value for each.

Source: ASHE 2019*, ONS—Crown Copyright

The gender pay gap (GPG) is the difference between average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men and women as a proportion of average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men. In 2019, Herefordshire's gender pay gap (women’s earnings were 9 per cent lower than men’s earnings) was similar to the West Midlands region and in England (10 per cent).

Figure 5: Gender pay gap in Herefordshire in 2019.

Infographic showing the gender pay gap in Herefordshire in 2019 (female earnings 9% less than males)

Hours worked

The median of total paid hours worked by those working in Herefordshire was 38.5 hours per week, slightly higher than that of regionally and nationally (37.5 hours). However, this difference is not statistically significant.

[1] Annual salaries are provided by ASHE but they only include earnings of those who are employed in the same job for a year, whereas weekly earnings include all workers.  Therefore annualised salaries were calculated using median weekly earnings, which includes more employees