Finance and insurance staff take home average bonuses of 12,000

Workers looking for bumper bonuses should focus on jobs in the finance and insurance industries, new figures suggest.

Staff in these sectors took home average bonuses of 12,000 in the last financial year, according to a report released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This was compared with typical payouts of just 1,400 among other firms, the ONS said.

The figures show that average bonuses at finance and insurance firms fell by around 1,500 in the 12 months to April, closing the gap between the City and the rest of the economy.

Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King has called on banks to cut payouts in a bid to save money, while many firms have also been forced to cut back as profits have been hit by a number of factors. These include the ongoing problems in the economy, new banking legislation and compensation for mis-sold payment protection insurance.

But City firms still represent a disproportionate number of bonuses awarded across the whole of the economy, giving out more than a third of all bonuses (36%) despite employing just 4% of all workers.

The ONS figures show that the majority of industries saw an increase in bonuses last year, with the total number of payouts rising by 3%.

Bonuses in non-financial sectors are now close to the high levels recorded before the recession, the report showed.

It additionally found that staff in the professional, scientific, technical and communication industries have enjoyed the biggest rise in their bonus payouts during the last financial year.

Meanwhile, staff at mining companies have seen their average bonuses rise by 10%, to 6,900.

Private sector workers received an average bonus of 1,700 - more than five times the average public sector bonus of 300.

But the ONS said the lack of a bonus culture means that pay in the public sector tends to be higher, while bonuses have also been pushed up by the part-nationalised banks such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds.

Excluding financial services, the average public sector bonus would have been 100, the ONS figures show.

Copyright Press Association 2012