The percentage of income held by the top 1% in the UK has increased since the 1970’s, from 6% in 1979 to 14-15% in 2001. If we compare Wales and the North of England with the East and London, earnings were 8% lower in 1979 and 25% lower in 2007. From 1970-2012 there has been a widening of earnings distribution, with the top decile moving furthest from the median. In 1979 average earnings were 90% of the median, by 2009 this has altered to 80%.

There are wide levels of inequality in amongst different groups in the labour market. The difference within groups (e.g. among women) is often greater than the difference between groups (e.g. men versus women). For instance, there is a wide distribution in earnings amongst graduates, some do well, some not. Women in Wales exhibit particularly low earnings. The average earnings of woman in Wales employed in the private sector places in the 25th percentile of earnings in the UK. In London it’s in the 46th percentile.