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.
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 ONS's preferred measure of average earnings as it is less affected by a relatively small number of very high earners and the skewed distribution of earnings. It therefore gives a better indication of typical pay than the mean.
The quality of an estimate can be assessed by referring to its coefficient of variation (CV) which is shown next to the earnings estimate. The CV is the ratio of the standard error of an estimate to the estimate. Estimates with larger CVs will be less reliable than those with smaller CVs.
In their published spreadsheets, ONS use the following CV values to give an indication of the quality of an estimate:
CV Value Quality of estimate
Latest data is provisional and will be updated with next years data
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