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Agriculture labour costs grew through 2022

Labour costs grew within the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector, as weekly earnings averaged £437 throughout the 12 months of 2022, according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics.

The peak earning was reached in December 2022, which saw average weekly earnings of £462. This is an increase of £43 (10%) from January 2022, where earnings sat at £419 per week. Provisional data for the first four months of 2023 (Jan- Apr) sees weekly wages grow further from 2022 during the same time period, up to a high of £476 in March 2023.

Comparing these figures to construction industry, the sector with a similar pool of labour to agriculture, weekly earnings averaged £709 throughout the 12 months of 2022. Peak earnings were reached in March, at £746 per week.

There was an increase of £35 (5%) from January to December, and a year-on-year increase of £39 (6%) from December 2021 – 22. Provisional data for 2023 shows higher weekly earnings than the same period in previous years, to a high of £768 in March 2023.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector also saw an increase in the annual average labour compensation per hour. This averaged £13.22 for 2022, which is up £2.19 (20%) from 2021, which stood at just over £11 per hour. Average compensation per hour hit £21.09 for construction in 2022, an increase of 9% (£1.77) from 2021, lower than growth per hour in agriculture.

Shortages of staff continue to persist within the sector, which could have driven up the weekly earnings throughout the year, and yearly changes from 2021. Increases in labour costs have been notable across all sectors, however, which could stymie the ability of agriculture to recruit and retain key workers in future.

Rising staffing costs have been an ongoing concern for all agricultural businesses alongside the whole suite of other rising input costs such as feed, fertiliser, and fuel.


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