For most people, price hikes at the petrol pump and supermarket checkout have not been matched by proportionate salary rises.
Inflation is expected to outpace pay growth until the end of 2023, according to official government forecasts.
But in a few jobs, wages are keeping up with the cost of living.
Sky News analysis of pay data from hiring website Indeed shows that some low-paying sectors, such as loading/stocking and hospitality, have experienced a real pay rise – an increase in wages larger than inflation.
This in part reflects increases in the national minimum wage, which went up 6.6% in April 2022 and 2.2% a year before.
But Hannah Slaughter, senior economist at think tank the Resolution Foundation, says that further increases in the cost of living will likely erode pay gains in sectors that currently have inflation-busting pay growth.
“Moreover, lots of people in low-paid jobs already face a higher rate of inflation than the headline rate,” she says.
“The price rises that are taking place at the moment are disproportionately affecting people on lower incomes because they spend more of their budgets on things like energy bills and food.”
Which jobs have had the fastest pay growth?
A handful of well-paid roles like mental health nurses and head chefs have experienced blockbuster pay growth of more than 10% over the past year.
Jack Kennedy, economist at Indeed Hiring Lab, says that pay for specific jobs is volatile and increases are more likely to reflect short-term hiring challenges than a sustained premium for certain skills.
“Pay increases have been driven by employers having to compete to try and bring in staff to fill gaps rather than some economy-wide, systematic realignment,” he says.
“Over the second half of last year, after reopening, a lot of sectors had to ramp up recruitment and compete for a diminished pool of labour.”
What’s the impact of Brexit?
Brexit is another key reason for hiring squeezes in sectors like hospitality and driving.
Jobs that relied heavily on EU workers have seen wages increase by 11.7% since the start of 2019, around twice as much as jobs that did not.
But Indeed’s Mr Kennedy says that pay rises resulting from hiring shortages will not bring about the “high-wage, high-skill” economy pursued by the government.
“Firms are facing a range of non-labour cost increases so their ability to offer big wage increases is limited,” he says. “Without sustained increases in productivity, any wage increases are likely to be passed onto the consumer.”
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