Britain is a nation split in two when the subject is wages. New figures reveal that the average weekly pay packet in May 2017 was 0.5% lower than in the same month the year before, after inflation was factored in. 

The effect of a steadily rising cost of living and wages freezes or minimal pay rises mean many of us feel poorer now than we did five years ago.

Our salary has hardly moved but the things we need to buy have got more expensive.

However, the other group has seen their wages soar in recent years as privatisation, unionisation and skill shortages mean salaries have risen, according to BBC analysis of pay data collected by HMRC.

[Read more: The surprising ways inflation costs us]

So, who are the winners and losers? Here’s a rundown of the jobs that have seen the biggest pay rises and falls over the past five years.

The winners

 

Job

Average pay increase between

2011 and 2016

1.

Air traffic controllers

54%

2.

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

44%

3.

Rubber process operatives

39%

4.

Electronics engineers

35%

5.

Publicans and managers of licensed premises

31%

6.

Tailors and dressmakers

31%

7.

Energy plant operatives

29%

8.

Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

26%

9.

Childminders and related occupations

24%

10.

Crane drivers

22%

Out of all the big pay rises of the last five years, commercial pilots have fared particularly well.

Their pay has increased by an average of 26% between 2011 and 2016, taking the average salary to a none-too-shabby £86,855.

This is due to a combination of pilots working longer hours and therefore earning more, and increasing demand as more of us flying regularly.

The BBC states that 600,000 new commercial airline pilots will be needed around the world over the next two decades.

Another job where demand is causing big pay rises is power engineers.

With 80% due to retire in the next 15 years, the energy and utility sectors predict they will have 221,000 vacancies in the next 10 years.

As a result of this skill shortage, pay has risen by 29% as companies try to lure people into the job.

So if you – or your child, or grandchild – are yet to decide which career path to choose, these two would appear to have real long-term potential.

Of course, work isn’t all about the money, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Finally, it's interesting to note the sharp rise in taxi drivers' income (up 44%), given all the talk about the impact of Uber drivers on this industry.

The losers

 

Job

Average pay fall between

2011 and 2016

1.

Complementary medicine practitioners

-22%

2.

Probation officers

-20%

3.

Coal miners

-15%

4.

Advertising accounts managers

-14%

5.

Precision instrument makers

-14%

6.

School inspectors

-11%

7.

Shelf fillers

-10%

8.

Museum archivists and curators

-9%

9.

Hotel/caravan managers and owners

-8%

10.

Radiographers

-8%

At the other end of the scale, workers in some areas have seen their wages fall by almost a quarter over the past five years.

Probation workers have lost a fifth of their earnings on average as a result of changes to pay increments which mean it now takes 23 years for a new officer to reach the next pay bracket. 

They used to receive pay increments three times a year but that has been cut to one and it sits under the 1% public sector pay cap.

Another group that has been hit hard by the public sector pay cap is radiographers.

Stagnating NHS pay combined with slow promotion and ageing workers retiring means the average salary has fallen 8%.

The rise of in-house ad agencies means the Mad Men of this world have seen their salaries fall with advertising agencies increasingly being ignored by large firms who now develop their own ad campaigns.

[Read more: What is CPIH and how it will impact your money?]

How to earn more cash

If you're looking to boost your income, switching jobs is a pretty drastic measure. And besides, you might be happy what you're doing anyway. 

You can also cut your existing costs by taking on a money challenge: see how our writer saved £136 in a month with some simple changes.