Annual bonuses have risen to more than £40 billion with pay-outs for financial sector employees dwarfing those in the rest of the economy, official figures showed today.
Total bonuses rose 4.9% to £40.5 billion, including £14.4 billion paid in the finance and insurance industry, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Bonuses for the rest of the economy, at £26.1 billion, were the highest since records began in 2000-2001.
Latest data showed the average pay-out in the financial sector was £13,300, an increase of £700 on the year before and nearly twice the second highest sector, mining and quarrying.
It meant bank and insurance employees received bonuses that were more than a hundred times higher than public sector workers which - when excluding employees of the bailed-out banks - were just £100 on average.
Teachers, nurses and social workers were the worst-paid for bonuses with pay-outs in their fields described as "negligible".
The financial sector bonuses were nine times more than the average in the whole economy of £1,500.
The ONS published figures from May to April as the fiscal year April to March was affected by an anomaly when many employees paid out bonuses in April 2013 to take advantage of tax changes.
Annual bonuses in the private sector increased 5.8% to £39.1 billion while in the public sector they fell 16.3% to £1.3 billion - partly as a result of the privatisation of Royal Mail.
Bonuses as a percentage of total pay reached 6% for the whole economy but this was still below 7.1% seen in the year to April 2008.
They contributed an increasing proportion of financial sector pay, at 24.2%, though this had been higher at 33.9% in the year to April 2007. In the rest of the economy they made up 4.2% of total pay.
Private sector average pay at £1,800 was 18 times that in the public sector excluding financial services, though private sector regular pay is lower than that in the public sector.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The rise in bonus payments may be great news for City workers but it won't help the vast majority of workers who don't receive bonuses and are instead suffering the longest real wage squeeze in over a century.
"Better pay settlements for all staff, rather than bigger bonuses for a select few, are a far better way to spread the benefits of growth fairly throughout the economy."
Janet Davies, executive director at the Royal College of Nursing, said: "These figures showing that bonus culture is alive and well will be cold comfort to the thousands of nurses who haven't had a cost-of-living increase for five years.
"No-one is denying that times have been tough and difficult decisions have had to be made but nurses have cared for record numbers of patients through the most disruptive reorganisation in NHS history and in the face of huge workforce cuts.
"With the economy recovering, it is now time for some fairness to be exercised, with better pay for all staff including nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who deserve to be valued and appreciated for the vital work they do."