Income and Employment

(Produced by DCC Economy Team. December 2018)

Local income and employment data for Devon residents (County Council area excluding Plymouth and Torbay) shows that median average earnings remain below that of the UK, though the pay gap is closing.

Average resident-based earnings in Devon for 2017 stand at £26,543 per annum compared to £29,574 nationally. In some Devon districts earnings are getting closer to the national level with residents of Mid Devon and the South Hams taking home on average, £28,207 and £28,178 respectively.

Workplace based earnings in Exeter are approaching the national average and employees in the area receive a median average of £28,844 per annum compared to £29,574 nationally [1].

Higher earnings in Devon are centred along the M5 corridor and rail links at Exeter and Tiverton with the more peripheral areas of North Devon and Torridge earning less than others in East Devon and Mid Devon.

Employment opportunities outside of the Devon area in Plymouth and Torbay may also support the earnings of residents in West Devon and the South Hams, though the latter benefits too from a retirement pattern which sees an older demographic moving to the area towards the end of their careers bringing up the average earnings. Many of these residents do not work in the South Hams hence a large difference of £62.8pw between the workplace and resident based figures.

TotalMale – full timeFemale – full timeUnemployment
DevonNumber (£)496.5535.4434.62.6%
Annual change (%)
UKNumber (£)569609509.14.2%
Annual change (%)3.433.2-0.4%
East Devon486.3560.3443.62.3%
Mid Devon505.9570.7416.32.5%
North Devon430.7458408.62.3%
South Hams539564.6443.42.2%
West Devon498.5499.6465.22.6%

Table: Median Average Resident Weekly Earnings, 2018; Labour Force Survey Unemployment 2018


Earnings in Teignbridge have been stagnating and the recent higher levels of inflation will have had an adverse effect on resident earnings. Earnings have only increased by 0.8% since 2013 in Teignbridge, far below the county level of 10.6%. A dependence on the seasonal tourist industry and a low skilled workforce goes some way to explaining the low earnings in the district.

Disparities in resident earnings between men and women persists and on average women in full time jobs earn £101 less per week than their male counterparts. Between 2013 and 2018 female weekly earning growth has moderately outstripped male earning growth by approximately 13.9% to 9.5% indicating that the gap is closing; though between 2017 and 2018 male earning growth increased by 1.9% whereas for women it increased by only 0.3%.

Around 5% of the Devon population live within the most deprived national quintile (one-fifth). These areas include parts of Exeter, Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, Bideford, Dawlish, Dartmouth, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot and Tiverton [2]. Within Devon, rural areas are generally more deprived compared to other rural areas in England, whilst urban areas are generally less deprived than urban areas nationally. Lower earnings and above average house prices contribute to a high house price ratio of 9.4 compared to 7.9 in England [3].

Economic activity remains high in Devon with 81.5% of 16-64 year olds identified as available to work. Employment in Devon remains high at 79.2%, above the national average at 74.9%. Although changes have been made to the methodology for counting unemployment, as well as the roll out of Universal Credit systems, unemployment is low and both metrics below the national average. Labour Force Survey unemployment estimates 2.6% of Devon residents to be unemployed while a total of 0.9% are claiming out of work benefits. Within the County, Exeter has a highest rate of LFS estimated unemployment at 3% compared to South Hams at 2.2%. A higher proportion of Torridge residents claim out of work benefits (1.4%) than in East Devon (0.7%) [4].

[1] ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2018
[2] Indices of Multiple Deprivation, 2015
[3] ONS House Price Ratio, 2017
[4] Claimant Count Unemployment, September 2018