Total bonus payments received across the whole economy during the period May 2013 to April 2014 were £40.5 billion – an increase of 4.9% compared with a year earlier – according to the annual article on bonuses from ONS. Of the total, £14.4 billion was paid in the finance and insurance industry, which increased by 2.9% over the year, and £26.1 billion in the rest of the economy, up 6.1%.

Across the economy as a whole, bonuses have increased to 6.0% of total pay in the year to April 2014. This is the highest level seen since before the economic downturn, when bonuses made up 7.1% of total pay in the year to April 2008. In the finance and insurance industry, however, bonuses contributed nearly one quarter of total pay in the year to April 2014 at 24.2%. This is up from 23.6% of total pay on the previous year. However, this is still below the peak in the year to April 2007, when bonuses made up 33.9% of total pay in this industry.

The average bonus per employee in the finance and insurance industry was £13,300. This was an increase of £700 compared with the previous year’s average. Mining and quarrying (including oil extraction and exploration) was the industry with the second highest average bonus, at £7,000 per employee, although this was a decrease of £300 compared with the previous year. The lowest bonuses per employee were paid in education and health & social work, where the bonuses per head figures were negligible.

Bonus payments in the private sector increased by 5.8% to £39.1 billion in May 2013-April 2014, while in the public sector they decreased by 16.3% to £1.3 billion. This is partly due to the privatisation of Royal Mail in October 2013. The average private sector employee received just over £1,800 in bonuses, approximately seven times higher than the average public sector worker’s bonus of just below £300. However, private sector workers have lower average regular pay than people working in the public sector, and their bonuses are a more significant part of total pay than in the public sector.