Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE)

New 2007 results from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) were added to Nomis on 23 November 2007. In line with normal practice, ASHE estimates for 2006 have been revised. These revisions take account of some corrections to the original 2006 data that were identified during the validation of the results for 2006, as well as late returns.

In March 2007, ONS announced that the sample size of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) was to be reduced by 20 per cent. ASHE results for 2007 are based on approximately 142,000 returns, down from 175,000 in 2006. The impact of this change has been minimised by reducing the sample in an optimal way, with the largest sample reductions occurring in industries where earnings are least variable. The sample cut does not affect Northern Ireland neither does it affect a number of organisations with an agreement to provide information electronically.

In addition, for the 2007 and revised 2006 ASHE results, ONS has introduced a small number of methodological changes, which will improve the quality of the results. These include changes to the sample design itself, as well as the introduction of an automatic occupation coding tool, ACTR. The key benefits of moving to ACTR coding are:

  • An improvement in the quality and consistency of ASHE results
  • Out-of-date codes will be updated annually
  • ACTR provides ASHE and ONS with a standard tool for coding occupation

Further details about these changes are given in a document available from the National Statistics website:

Changes to ASHE in 2007 (pdf, 104Kb)

Accessing ASHE Data

Only the local authority level data sets are currently on Nomis, the regional/country level data which give more in-depth analyses of earnings (e.g. by industry and occupation) will be added at a later date.

The two ASHE datasets can be accessed using the wizard or advanced query options. Although both provide the same breakdowns, one gives earnings estimates for the resident population (i.e. people living in an area) and is available from 2002 onwards, whilst the other gives estimates for the workplace population (i.e. people working in an area) and is available from 1998 onwards.

ASHE estimates by occupation and industry are not available for local authorities. These analyses are only available at the region and country level and will be made available on Nomis at a later date. In the mean time, the full data sets can be downloaded from the main National Statistics site:

Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings results (link)

Background Notes - Survey details

  1. ASHE is based on a sample of employee jobs taken from HM Revenue & Customs PAYE records. Information on earnings and hours is obtained in confidence from employers. ASHE does not cover the self-employed nor does it cover employees not paid during the reference period. In 2007 information related to the pay period which included 18 April.

    Further details about the survey and methodology are included in a Labour Market Trends article available from the following link:

    Methodology for the 2004 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (pdf)

  2. The headline statistics for ASHE are based on the median rather than the mean. The median is the value below which 50 per cent of employees fall. It is preferred over the mean for earnings data as it is influenced less by extreme values and because of the skewed distribution of earnings data.

  3. The earnings information presented relates to gross pay before tax, National Insurance or other deductions, and excludes payments in kind. With the exception of annual earnings, the results are restricted to earnings relating to the survey pay period and so exclude payments of arrears from another period made during the survey period; any payments due as a result of a pay settlement but not yet paid at the time of the survey will also be excluded.
  4. For particular groups of employees, changes in median earnings between successive surveys may be affected by changes in the timing of pay settlements, in some cases reflecting more than one settlement and in some others no settlement at all.

  5. Most of the published ASHE analyses relate to full-time employees on adult rates whose earnings for the survey pay period were not affected by absence. They do not include the earnings of those who did not work a full week, and whose earnings were reduced because of sickness, short time working, etc. Also they do not include the earnings of employees not on adult rates of pay, most of whom will be young people. More information on the earnings of young people and part-time employees is available in the main survey results. Full-time employees are defined as those who work more than 30 paid hours per week or those in teaching professions working 25 paid hours or more per week.