MES soared across the whole of British society over the past 25 years, according to a report published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics.
Even the financial crisis only knocked wages by a fraction of the huge leap experienced between 1986 and 2007, the study showed.
Average wages – even after accounting for inflation – jumped 62 per cent for full-time employees from 1986 to 2011.
But from 2007 to 2011 the average wage fell by 3.2 per cent.
Top earners saw wages almost double overall, with the top 10 per cent earning £26.75 per hour in 2011, compared with £14.78 in 1986, after controlling for inflation
Meanwhile at the other end the bottom 10 per cent earned £7.01 an hour last year, up 47 per cent over the 25-year period.
The introduction of the minimum wage had a major impact from 1998 onwards, although pay had increased considerably in the 12 years before that – pay for the bottom one per cent jumped 15 per cent from 1986 to 1998, then another 51 per cent from 1998 to 2011.
The City provided a particular boost to wages in London – 36 per cent of those in the capital are in the top 10 per cent nationally by earnings with pay of over £26.75 per hour.
But financial sector workers are not the highest paid on average – that title falls to airline pilots and flight engineers who earn an average of £44.49 per hour, excluding overtime.