30+ Surprising Salary Statistics for the UK

Fact-checked

The average UK salary is a topic of interest for millions of Brits. Even though people rarely discuss salaries with peers and colleagues, it’s always good to know whether you’re earning more or less than the average salary in your field.

That is why we compiled statistics highlighting average salaries in the UK and categorised them according to some determining factors. You may be entitled to a raise and not even know it! Read the following facts to find out more.

Average UK Salary Image 1

Average UK Salary: Fascinating Facts

  • The average weekly net pay in the UK is £541.
  • The average yearly salary in 2020 was £25,780.
  • CEOs earn the most in the UK with £1,538.70 weekly.
  • Dentists earn 143% more than the national average at £72,000/year.
  • Teenagers are the lowest paid age group, earning only £206.60 a week.
  • People between 40 and 49 earn the most of all age groups: £35,904 per year.
  • The average male worker earns £5,942 more than their female co-workers.
  • Londoners earn the highest salaries in the UK with £824 a week.

The National Average

The average salary in the UK has changed over the past few years. Before we look at salary differences caused by age, gender, and industry, let’s take a look at the national average. 

#1 Weekly earnings of a UK worker are about £576

(ONS)

Data from June 2021 shows that the average pay for someone in the UK is £576 a week; after taxes, this is about £541. Yearly, this amounts to roughly £30,000

#2 There was a 6.5% increase in weekly earnings between March 2020 and January 2021

(GQ)

The average UK salary for 2020 saw a 6.5% increase from March 2020 to January 2021. This percentage includes bonuses, but if we only look at regular pay, the number drops down to 4.3%. This indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t affect earning specifically, but the unemployment rates rose significantly (5%).

#3 From April to June 2021 there was a 7.4% increase in base pay

(ONS)

The three months in Q2 saw another immense increase in regular pay – from April to June 2021, salaries rose an astounding 7.4%. However, this UK average salary growth is affected by compositional and base effects, so interpret this number with caution.

#4 At least 7.2% of workers in their 30s earn less than they did before 2008 

(Statista)

Even though the average salary has been growing steadily in the UK, when adjusted for inflation, workers actually earn less money and are worse off than before the 2008 financial crisis. 7.2% of workers in their 30s earn less now than they did in 2008.

#5 The UK average salary in 2020 was £25,780

(StandOut CV)

The average salary in 2020 was £25,780 in the UK – a 3.4% increase compared to 2019. However, despite the increase, there has been a rise in household debt in the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic

#6 Part-time workers in the UK earn £11,234 a year

(StandOut CV)

Reports show that the current average full-time salary in the UK stands at £31,461 per year; the part-time salary is significantly lower: £11,234. The fact that part-time workers earn significantly less than full-timers heavily impacts the national average. 

#7 The UK hourly wage is £7.83

(Expatica)

What is the average salary in the UK? Most know that it is significantly above the minimum wage. Millions of past workers were receiving the bare minimum; in 2019, the National Living Wage (NLW) was introduced, which requires employers to pay workers 25 and older an additional 50 pence an hour. The NLW currently stands at £7.83 per hour.

The Average Salary by Occupation

What you do for a living determines how much you get paid. Since salaries can vary widely, we list the average salaries for some of the most common or sought-after occupations.

#8 CEOs are the highest earners, making £1,538.70 weekly

(GQ)

The national average salary in the UK for CEOs and other senior officials is £1,538.70 per week. Although a CEO is considered a top earner, people in high positions in marketing and sales aren’t far behind; they make an average of £1,437.40 per week, making marketing the second highest-earning job

#9 Flight engineers and aircraft pilots earn £92,330 a year

(StandOut CV)

Besides directors and officials, the two highest-paid professions in the UK are flight engineers and aircraft pilots, earning an average salary of £92,330.

#10 Playworkers are the lowest full-time earners at £15,395 per year

(StandOut CV)

A playworker’s average annual salary in the UK is £15,395, which makes it the lowest-paid profession in the UK. This has not always been the case; the average playworker’s paycheck saw a recent decrease of 12.3%, leading many to seek additional income sources. If you’re among this group, there are some great ideas for earning a passive income

#11 Nurses in the UK make £33,920 a year

(Cosmopolitan)

A career in nursing may feel rewarding, but it doesn’t pay that much – an average nurse salary in the UK is just £33,920. Compared to other medical careers, this is on the low side since other medical practitioners earn as much as £62,219.

#12 Doctors’ salaries range from £45,124 to £77,519 

(Health Careers)

The amount of money made as a doctor in the UK depends on the type; specialty doctors earn a lower basic salary than General Practitioners (GPs). The average salary of a specialty doctor ranges from £45,124 to £77,519, while the average GP salary in the UK ranges from £62,268 to £93,965.

#13 Legal professionals earn roughly £77,212 

(Cosmopolitan; Jobted)

Legal professionals get paid about £77,212 per year, although the exact amount depends on the specific profession. Barristers and judges are the lowest earners at £41,874/year, with solicitors earning slightly more – £43,194. Lawyers are the highest earners in the legal profession; even though their earnings vary, the lawyer average salary in the UK ranges from £54,700 to £66,300.

#14 Accountants earn between £30,200 and £35,600 a year

(Jobted)

Being an accountant comes with a large share of responsibilities. Even though it requires a lot of education and expertise, this profession is not as paid out as you’d think. Assistant accountants make only £26,200 a year, while chartered accountants earn significantly more – £35,600. Most accountants earn somewhere in between, as the average salary of an accountant in the UK is £30,200

#15 Engineers earn 62% more than the national average; dentists earn 143% more

(Jobted)

The average national salary takes professions, part-time and full-time workers, and people working for minimum wage into consideration, as well as those earning significantly more. Two professions stand out from the average – engineers earn £48,000 a year, 63% more than the national average, while dentists earn 143% more! The average dentist salary in the UK is a high £72,000.

The Average Salary by Age 

Not only do you get older with age, but you also gain more experience and skills in your field. Naturally, this influences your earnings; if you think that you have enough experience to deserve a raise, enter a negotiation with your employer. Let’s see how age influences salaries in the UK

#16 Teenagers are the lowest paid age group, earning only £206.60 a week

(GQ)

Teenagers are inexperienced workers, meaning they earn the least; the average weekly earnings for 16 and 17-year-olds is £206.60. However, the average salary in the UK increases by age. Average earnings for those 18 to 21 are £354.80/week

#17 People in their forties are the highest earners in the UK

(StandOut CV; InstantOffices)

People from 40 to 49 earn the most in the UK. The average salary in this age group is £35,904, which is £4,443 more than the national average. Men and women hit their peak – the weekly average is £727.6 for men and £600.6 for women

#18 Twenty-somethings earn between £400 and £500 a week

(Instant Offices)

Looking at the average UK salary by age group shows that salaries are rapidly growing for people 21 to 29. Those between 21 and 24 earn, on average, £400/week, while slightly older workers earn £500/week

#19 Earnings remain steady for people in their thirties

(Instant Offices)

Men and women in their thirties earn steady wages – the national average is £651.6/week for men and £588.7/week for women. Usually, many of them are done grappling with student debt, so they can begin saving for the future. 

#20 Salaries decrease to £539.80 a week as the age of retirement nears

(GQ)

The average salary in the UK decreases as people get older and are heading towards retirement. People over 50 earn £624.40 a week, while people that are even closer to retirement earn even less – £539.80

The Average Salary by Gender

Even though many countries are getting closer to closing their pay gaps, this is not the case in the UK. Men still earn more than women; although the situation has been improving, distributing equal pay is still up in the air.

#21 Men over 60 earn 32.5% more than their female counterparts

(StandOut CV)

Data on the average salary in the UK for 2021 shows that the gender pay gap is the largest for people over 60. Men 60 and over earn 32.5% more than women in the same age group. Among younger generations, the pay gap is smaller – men 18 to 21 earn 3.5% more, while those 22 to 29 earn 10% more.

#22 The average male worker earns £5,942 more than females

(StandOut CV)

Male workers in the UK earn £5,942 more a year than women. On average, men earn £33,923 a year while women earn only £27,981 – £3,480 less than the national average. 

#23 The average doctor salary in the UK is 54.5% higher for men than women

(StandOut CV)

In some professions, the pay gap is more significant than in others; in the medical profession, it is particularly obvious. Male doctors and other health professionals earn 54.5% more than female medical workers.

#24 Out of 490 professions, women earn more in 35

(StandOut CV)

Women earn more than men in only 35 out of 490 professions. Some of these roles are counsellors (19% more), conservation professionals (14.9% more), and sports coaches (14.8% more). Surprisingly, even though the average yearly salary in the UK is higher among males, they still have more credit card debt than women. 

#25 Female teachers are earning £6,000 less than males

(FFT Education Data Lab)

The education system is a large problem for the pay gap; significantly more women than men work as teachers, but they get paid less. This is especially evident in primary education where men make £8,000 more a year, while in secondary education they make £6,000 more. The average teacher salary in the UK for primary educators is £51,000 for men and £43,000 for women.

#26 The gender pay gap is improving, decreasing 25% in the past decade

(Findcourses)

The past ten years have recorded a significant improvement in the gender pay gap with a decrease of 25%. However, this doesn’t affect all age brackets equally – women over 40 are still earning 10% less than men

More Essential Salary Statistics

We’ve covered most salary-determining factors, but there are a few more things you should know to understand why your salary may be below (or above) average. 

#27 London is the highest-earning city in the UK at £824 a week

(Payspective)

For Londoners, the average salary in the UK for 2020 was £824 per week, meaning the capital has the highest earnings in the country. Derby residents earn the second-highest wage in the country at £779.10/week, while Oxford is in third with £678.00.

#28 The median gross pay in Scotland was £25,812 in 2020

(AV Trinity)

In 2020, the median gross paycheck in Scotland amounted to £25,812 a year, or £486 in weekly earnings. This shows that Scots earn significantly less than the national average.

#29 The median gross salary in Wales is £23,655

(AV Trinity)

In Wales, people earn less than those in England and Scotland – £23,655/year, or £1,900/month. Since salaries in Wales are less than the average monthly salary in the UK, many consider alternative income sources. Investments have many benefits, for example, with investments in gold becoming increasingly popular. 

#30 People with no higher education earn less – only £25,000 a year

(Payspective)

People that have no higher education earn less than the average at £25,000/year. On the other hand, people with graduate degrees earn £34,000/year, while those with postgraduate degrees earn £42,000/year

#31 At least 10% of the UK population earns less than £18,586 a year

(Payspective)

The latest statistics on the average UK salary for 2021 show that the annual earnings of 10% of the population are less than £18,586, or around £1,500/month. These numbers are significantly below the national average; it’s estimated this portion of the population lives on or below the poverty line

Wrap Up

Salaries play an important role in everyone’s lives, as the amount of money earned can influence the quality of life and contribute to overall life satisfaction. People don’t discuss their salaries often, which is why it’s a good idea to learn what the average UK salary is and see if you’re earning and living above or below average.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I learned a lot about finance after working for a digital marketing company specializing in investing and trading stocks, forex, etc. After that, I got exposed to other verticals such as wealth management and personal finance, which further improved my understanding of the financial world.

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