According to the newest available data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) – which is the UK’s government department responsible for collecting statistics about the UK’s economy, society and population – the average median salary was £25,971.
When we look exclusively at full-time workers in the UK, the average median salary jumps to £31,285. Considering that London is home to a vast majority of the high income earners in the UK, let’s separate each country individually to see what people are earning on average.
Analysing Average Salaries in the UK
The overall national average is a good data point to understand the standard of living and how wealthy a nation is. For example, we can see that the UK has a slightly lower average salary then Austria or Switzerland but still quite high when compared on a global scale. For a jobseeker, or an employee, it’s going to be more helpful to understand what your peers are earning so that you can better understand where to place yourself in the job market.
Below, we've outlined some of the notable sectors in the UK and listed popular jobs with their annual salary ranges:
You can also use this helpful ONS data below. Find your occupation cluster and see what earning bracket your role sits in.
Factors influencing salary levels
As you can see above, the industry you work in will play a huge role in your earning potential. For example, a person working in ecommerce is going to be capped at a different range then someone working in fintech. Switching what industry you work in can increase or decrease your earning potential in a meaningful way. Outside of industry, let’s discuss a few other factors that contribute to your take home pay.
Experience is one of the biggest determining factors in how much salary you can earn. If you are just entering the workforce you are going to be paid at the lowest end of the scale whereas if you have five or more years experience you’ll likely be in the top earning percentile for your role. For example, an entry-level software engineer might be offered a base salary of £41,000 whereas a senior might be offered £60,000. That’s a £20K difference.
2. Education and qualifications:
For many industries your education and professional qualifications will impact your earning potential. It’s not so much that if you have a masters degree, for example, you’re entitled to a pay bump. It’s more so that those candidates who have those recognised qualifications are going to have better job opportunities in general, and are therefore more likely to land a job at a top company. Education is a greater determining factor for entry-level positions and business management positions.
The town or city that you live in the UK will also factor into your salary. There are three primary reasons for this: 1)The number of job opportunities 2) The quality of opportunities 3) The cost of living in your city or town. Firstly, if a city has more job opportunities, then there’s a higher chance you can find a better paying job. Second, large cities attract corporations and international companies which can offer much higher salaries to employees. And thirdly, if it’s very expensive to live in a city, employers tend to bump up salaries so that you can maintain your standard of living. You can see these factors reflected on the map ONS map below.
4. Company size and industry demand:
The size of your company in terms of valuation and headcount can also impact your base salary. Generally speaking, large corporations, companies, and government departments pay higher wages. Google, for example, is going to pay a much higher wage compared to your average startup in the UK. On top of that, if there’s high demand for workers with your skillset, companies will offer you higher salaries. This is particularly true for IT professionals — there’s a shortage of talent, therefore base salaries are well above the national average.
5. Market trends and economic conditions:
Economic prosperity and economic depression will certainly influence your potential earnings. We’ve seen this play out in the last couple of years especially with recruiting and HR where there was a boom in hiring and then huge tech layoffs which predominantly affected these roles. The need for “nice-to-have” roles sharply decreases when a company’s profits are slashed. Additionally, market trends can also push cash in different directions. For example, AI and machine learning are very hot at the moment — as investors are pouring millions of dollars into research and development the pay being offered to ML professionals is going to jump up.
Hopefully, this overview of average salaries in the UK has helped you understand where to position yourself in the market and how you might compare to your peers. If you have a couple years of experience and are still earning below the average for your industry or role, it might be a good idea to dust off your resume and see job opportunities are out there. WeAreDevelopers helps match tech professionals with great companies in Europe, so if you work in tech check out what jobs are available.
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