What is the Average UK Salary?

The UK's biggest salary study | StandOut CV
 
Andrew Fennell photo Andrew Fennell | Updated Nov 2022

As Brits, we rarely talk about salaries and how much we earn. This means many of us don’t have a clue if we’re earning above or below the average salary in the UK. We wanted to change that.

To do so, we’ve reviewed the latest annual Government report, released in November 2022, via the Office for National Statistics (ONS), to create the most comprehensive guide to the salaries and the average wage in the UK.

Our analysis will let you know if you’re getting a good deal or not.

It can also be useful in salary negotiations or making sure a job description is legitimate and fair. Below you’ll find statistics on the average UK salary per gender, age, industry, and how these have changed over the years.

 

 

Key statistics for UK salaries

  • As of November 2022, the current average salary in the UK is £27,756, which is a 6.8% increase from 2021.
  • For full-time employees, the average salary is £33,000, while part-time employees earn an average wage of £12,247 (including gig economy workers).
  • The highest-paid job in the UK is a marketing, sales, and advertising director, earning an average of £74,224.
  • Playworkers statistically earn the lowest average salary in the UK at £6,925.
  • 2022 saw the highest average annual earnings change at 5.7%, the biggest increase in over a decade.
  • Librarians working full-time saw the highest percentage change in average salaries by 26.8% to £35,003.
  • In 2022, GPs working full-time had the largest percentage decrease in average salaries (-14.5%) to £43,514.
  • In 2022, the gender pay gap increased from 18.05% to 18.78%, where full-time employed men earn an average of £5,576 more a year.
  • Those aged 40-49 earn the highest average salary (£31,476) while those aged 18-21 earn the lowest: £12,451.

 

What is the average salary in the UK now?

There are technically a few ways to view the data for the average pay in the UK, but to keep it simple, the latest data from the ONS shows the following:

  • The median average salary for those working full-time is £33,000
  • The median average salary for all employees in the UK is £27,756
  • The median average salary for part-time employees is £12,247
  • The mean average salary for those working full-time is £39,966
  • The mean average salary for all employees in the UK is £33,402
  • The mean average salary for part-time employees is £14,727

The ONS states that “the mean measures the average amount earned by individuals” which can mean that the data can be skewed and  “is susceptible to small numbers of very high earners.” The median is preferred because it “measures the amount earned by the typical individual”.

For this analysis, we have reviewed median salaries as they are the most accurate way to view and compare this data. You can see how this compares over time, gender, and age in the full analysis below.

 

Average UK salary for full-time and part-time employees

According to the ONS, the average salary in the UK in 2022 for all employees was £27,756, a 6.8% increase from 2021. For full-time workers, the average UK salary in 2022 was £33,000 exactly, a 5.7% increase YoY.

Part-time employees in the UK earned an average of £12,247 in 2022, which was an 8.6% increase from 2021. Part-time workers are defined by the UK Government as someone who works fewer hours than full-time workers at the same place of employment, therefore, part-time hours could typically range all the way up to 34 hours a week.

The below chart shows the average full-time earnings since 2011 in the UK.

Average full-time salary in the UK from 2011 to 2022

 

Which jobs pay the most in the UK?

According to the latest Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) report by the ONS, Marketing, sales, and advertising directors are paid the highest salary on average, at £74,224. This is an increase of 6.7% compared to the same job’s annual median salary in 2021, and is 167.4% higher than 2022’s average salary in the UK.

The ONS classifies marketing, sales, and advertising directors as all one job, therefore salaries could vary drastically between those who hold a role that covers only marketing, or only sales for example.

In 2021, CEOs were the highest-average earners with a reported annual salary of £81,102.

 

Highest paying jobs in the UK

With marketing, sales, and advertising director being the highest-paid job in the UK, CEOs have been knocked down to second position when comparing rankings to 2021, this is in part due to the role’s 2.2% average salary decline. IT directors are now the UK’s third-highest paid job earning an average salary of £68,912

You can see the full top ten highest paid jobs in the UK in the table below as well as a year-on-year (YoY) comparison to 2021:

 

Job Title2022 SalaryYoY ChangeYoY Position Change
Marketing, sales and advertising directors74,2246.7%+1
CEOs72,621-2.2%-1
IT directors68,91230.5%+11
Pilots and air traffic controllers66,1446.6%N/A
Public relations (PR) and communications directors65,70322.6%0
Senior police officers59,1410.5%0
Train and tram drivers58,862-0.3%-3
Financial managers and directors58,0795.6%0
Functional managers and directors57,3377.4%+2
Senior officers in protective services
(fire, police, army, etc.)
57,1790.4%0

 

The most notable change from 2021’s highest paid occupations was the movement of IT directors who jumped 11 places to third position, with an average salary of £68,912. Functional managers and directors also found themselves in the top ten highest-paid jobs in 2022, with an average salary of £57,337.

 

Average marketing, sales, advertising director salary in the UK

As the UK’s highest paying job is now that of a marketing, sales, and advertising director, we’ve tracked the average earnings of this role over the years to see how it got to top position.

When reviewing the data it is important to note that before 2021, the ONS classed the role as ‘Marketing and sales director’ then advertising was added to the role in 2021 and 2022. This is likely due to marketing directors being responsible for paid marketing (advertising) more in recent years.

From 2011 to 2022, the average salary for marketing directors grew 15.05% from £64,515, however, in more recent years, there has been a decline of -1.5% from 2019’s £75,332 (the highest salary for this role).

 

Average salary of marketing directors over time in the UK

 

Average CEO salary in the UK

As one of the consistently high-earning jobs in the UK, we also analysed CEO’s average salaries over time.

Despite being the highest earners in the country, CEOs have seen a 25.5% decrease in average salary from 2019 (£97,467) to 2022 (£72,621). The chart below reveals the annual average CEO salary from 2011 to 2022.

 

Median average CEO salary over time in the UK

 

Which jobs in the UK have the lowest average salary?

In 2022, playworkers were once again found to have the lowest average earnings in the UK, taking home £6,925 per year, which is 3.4% more than 2021.

After playworkers, bar staff were found to have the second-lowest average salary in the UK at £7,844, this is however 41.6% more than they were earning on average in 2021. This increase however, is reflective of the pandemic heavily impacting the hospitality industry and their earnings.

The table below reveals the ten lowest paid jobs on average in the UK in 2022 which is largely unchanged compared to 2021 apart from fitness and wellbeing instructors entering the top ten.

 

Job Title2022 SalaryYoY ChangeYoY Position Change
Playworkers*£6,9253.4%0
Bar staff£7,84441.6%0
Waiters and waitresses£8,06110.9%0
Cleaners and domestics£9,0227%0
Kitchen and catering assistants£10,27913.6%0
Retail cashiers and check-out operators£10,350-1.7%+1
Beauticians and related occupations£12,58728.3%-1
Hairdressers and barbers£12,80519.2%0
Sales and retail assistants£12,8515.1%0
Fitness and wellbeing instructors*£13,39216.6%N/A**

*Mean salary was used in place of median salary due to lack of data in provisional ONS report.
** N/A due to lack of historic data from ONS for this specific role.

 

UK salary changes over time

At the end of the 2022 financial year, the average full-time earnings in the UK increased by 5.7%, the highest earnings change increase in recent years. This is likely due to the lower figures recorded in the 2020/2021 financial year due to the furlough scheme and the financial impacts of the pandemic.

Part-time salaries had an even bigger annual percentage change at 8.6%, while the overall average salary in the UK increased by 6.8%.

The UK average salary percentage change each year

 

Jobs with the highest earnings growth in 2022

By analysing full-time earnings data from 2022 we can see which roles had the highest percentage increase change in their average salaries year-on-year. We’ve broken this down by both full and part-time jobs. Those jobs which the ONS labels ‘Not elsewhere classified’, were removed from this analysis as it is difficult to define exactly what the role is.

 

Full-time jobs with the highest earnings growth

The biggest salary jump for full-time employees was found in those who work as librarians, who saw a full-time median salary increase of 26.8% to £35,003. Second to librarians, houseparents (who typically look after students in boarding educational institutions) saw a 22.8% increase, followed by restaurant/catering managers (22.2%).

 

Job Title2022 SalaryYoY Change
Librarians£35,00326.8%
Houseparents and residential warden£31,56722.8%
Restaurant and catering managers£28,10022.2%
Journalists and reporters£36,12220.8%
Conservation professionals£36,37519.2%
Beauticians (and similar)£18,64619.2%
Hair/beauty salon managers£28,86818.4%
Hairdressers and barbers£18,03017.1%
Scaffolders, stagers, riggers£38,82916.9%
Garage managers£43,54116.5%

 

Part-time jobs with the highest earnings growth

When it came to those who work part-time hours (anything fewer than full-time hours at the same business) air travel assistants (those who deal with passengers at the airport) saw a 67.7% increase in earnings compared to the same period in 2021. This is almost certainly due to the impact the pandemic had on airlines.

 

Job Title2022 SalaryYoY Change
Air travel assistants£17,64567.7%
Launderers ad dry cleaners£11,17940.2%
Midwifery nurses£20,76833.7%
Bus and coach drivers£13,14630.6%
Specialist medical practitioners£41,11525.8%
Sales administrators£12,33024.6%
Pharmaceutical technicians£17,36222.3%
Functional managers and directors£20,63421.9%
Assemblers and routine operatives£14,17919.3%
Bar and catering supervisors£12,10819.2%

 

Jobs with the highest earnings decline in 2022

The average pay across the UK saw a 6.8% increase, however there were a number of roles that did not follow this trend, and to an even worse extent, suffered a decline in average wages when compared to 2021.

Between both full and part-time roles, the largest earnings decline was seen in those who work as part-time bakers, who saw a decline of -22.3% in their average pay to £11,647, while Generalist medical practitioners saw the highest full-time earnings decline (-14.5%).

 

Full-time jobs with the highest earnings decline

Generalist medical practitioners (most commonly known as GPs) saw the largest percentage decrease in their average salary from 2021 to 2022, reducing by -14.5% to £43,515. After GPs, biological scientists saw the second-highest percentage decline (-13.6%). The below table reveals the top ten full-time jobs in the UK that suffered the highest percentage decrease in average pay.

 

Job Title2022 SalaryYoY Change
Generalist medical practitioners£43,514-14.5%
Biological scientists£33,477-13.6%
Actuaries, economists and statisticians£43,283-9.5%
Clothing and fashion designers£31,307-9.4
Specialist medical practitioners£68,614-8.7%
Cybersecurity professionals£45,593-8.5%
Clinical psychologist£41,591-8.1%
Newspaper/magazine editors£35,419-7.0%
Pre-press technicians£24,800-5.4%
Insurance underwriters£32,189-5.3%

 

Part-time jobs with the highest earnings decline

As mentioned, bakers saw the highest percentage decrease in earnings (-22.3%) out of all part-time employees and were the only workers to see a decrease of earnings above a fifth.

After bakers, shopkeepers saw the second-highest decline (-17.9%), followed by biochemists (-14.4%). There is another likely impact of the pandemic here with biochemists and undertakers seeing their average salaries decline as the pandemic response required fewer tests and the death rate was reduced due to the vaccine rollout.

You can see the top ten part-time jobs in the UK ranked by their average salary decline in the table below.

 

Job Title2022 SalaryYoY Change
Bakers£11,647-22.3%
Shopkeepers£13,769-17.9%
Biochemists£23,355-14.4%
Undertakers, mortuary, crematorium assistants£11,903-7.9%
Food, drink, tobacco, process operatives£13,014-7.5%
Cashiers£9,218-5.2%
Typists£10,879-5.1%
Process operatives£12,986-4.8%
Head teachers£59,466-4.4%
Sales supervisors£13,769-4.4%

 

UK gender pay gap 2022

The latest ONS data reveals that average male full-time workers in the UK earn 18.78% more than their female counterparts. When it comes to part-time work, the difference is in favour of female workers as they earn an average of 2.77% more. This is due to the fact that more women are employed in part-time roles than men (38% vs 13%).

In 2021, the gender pay gap for full-time employees sat at 18.05% in favour of male workers, while the part-time difference was 2.7% in favour of female employees. While this shows the gender pay gap has not changed much from 2021 to 2022, it does show that the pay gap is continuing to worsen when it comes to full-time salaries.

In financial terms, a male worker in the UK earned, on average, £5,576 more than their female co-workers in 2022, that’s £467 more than 2021’s gender pay gap.

 

2022 Gender Pay GapFull-timeFull-time differencePart-timePart-time difference
Male£35,26018.78%£12,0002.77%
Female£29,684£12,332

 

Gender pay gap in full-time salary since 2016

In the below chart you can see the year-by-year play of how the gender pay gap in the UK has developed over time. This data is based on full-time earnings from the ONS.

 

Graph showing the gender pay gap between men and women over time

 

Which roles have the biggest gender wage gap in the UK?

The latest data shows that in five of the largest wage gap professions males earn 50% or more than their female counterparts. Meaning, men in these roles earn the same average wage as women in the same role in roughly half the time.

Mobile machine drivers, such as those responsible for tarmac surfacing, or pile driving, have the highest gender pay gap in the UK, where men are paid 57.99% more than women.

The below table shows the top roles with the largest gender pay gap in favour of male employees in the UK. Elementary occupations and those not classified by the ONS have been removed from this part of the analysis.

 

Job TitleDifferenceMaleFemale
Mobile machine drivers57.99%£29,542£18,699
Assemblers (vehicles and metal)57.18%£30,747£19,562
Financial managers and directors54.45%£70,286£45,508
Cleaners and domestics52.56%£12,563£8,235
Truck drivers50.82%£27,441£18,195
Quantity surveyors49.30%£51,492£34,488
Metal making and treating process operatives49.16%£27,054£18,137
Construction project managers48.01%£39,571£26,735
Shelf fillers47.27%£17,019£11,556
Functional managers/directors45.84%£67,430£46,235

 

In ‘real terms’, men who work as financial managers/directors earn an average of £24,778 more than women doing the same job. Another example would be men who work as construction project managers, who will typically earn an average of £12,836 more than women in the same role.

In 2021, assemblers had the highest gender pay gap (60.62%), while mobile machine drivers were in second position (60.06%) indicating the top jobs with the largest gender pay gap haven’t changed much in 2022.

 

Jobs with the largest gender pay gap in 2021

The following table reveals the jobs that had the largest gender pay gap in 2021 for a more in-depth year-on-year comparison.

 

Job TitleDifferenceMaleFemale
Assemblers (vehicles and metal goods)60.62%£31,126£19,379
Mobile machine drivers60.06%£30,438£19,017
IT engineers57.47%£30,926£19,639
Chemical and related process operatives55.09%£32,010£20,639
Construction operatives51.06%£25,851£17,113
Production managers/directors (mining & energy)50.96%£45,103£29,877
Textile process operatives50.55%£26,772£17,783
Construction operatives49.08%£28,675£19,234
Quantity surveyors48.69%£47,089£31,670
Mobile machine drivers and operatives46.78%£29,288£19,954

 

Jobs where men have the highest gender pay gap

At a monetary level, financial managers and directors have the highest average salary for men compared to women, with the former paid £24,778 more in an average year.

The table below reveals the top five jobs where men earn more than women in an average annual salary (combined full and part-time).

 

Job titleGender pay gap (in favour of men)Average male salaryAverage female salary
Financial managers and directors£24,778£70,286£45,508
Functional managers and directors£21,195£67,430£46,235
Specialist medical practitioners£19,978£72,885£52,907
Marketing, sales and advertising directors£19,867£80,099£60,232
Quantity surveyors£17,004£51,492£34,488

 

Jobs where women have the highest gender pay gap

Only 16 of the 333 roles analysed by the ONS have women earning more than men on average in the same roles. Welfare professionals (people who advise families experiencing a crisis, mental health counselors, etc). who are women, earn an average of £6,617 more than men, while telecoms installers have a gender pay gap in favour of women earning £5,879 more a year.

You can see the top five jobs where women earn more than men in the UK in the table below.

 

Job titleGender pay gap (in favour of women)Average male salaryAverage female salary
Welfare professionals£6,617£27,615£34,232
Telecoms installers and repairers£5,879£33,135£39,014
Chartered surveyors£3,516£37,421£40,937
IT trainers£2,791£33,152£35,943
Social and humanities scientists£2,468£32,538£35,006

 

Due to limited data published by the ONS, there may be some roles where women/men earn very high salaries but the male/female data was not published to be able to provide a comparison. You can, however, see the highest-earning professions for men and women below.

Highest earning professions in the UK by gender

Below you can see the highest-earning professions for both men and women in the UK in 2022.

 

Male  Female 
Job titleAverage salaryJob titleAverage salary
Marketing, sales and advertising directors£80,0991CEOs£64,423
CEOs£79,3512Head teachers£60,793
Specialist medical practitioners£72,8853Marketing, sales and advertising directors£60,23
Financial managers and directors£70,2864Train and tram drivers£58,720
Head teachers£69,6785Senior police officers£55,018
Functional managers/directors£67,4306Senior officers (fire, police, NHS, etc.)£54,423
GPs£64,2727Specialist medical practitioners£52,907
Senior police officers£60,0918GPs£48,056
Train and tram drivers£58,8649Health services managers and directors£47,893
Senior officers (fire, police, NHS, etc.)£58,02010Functional managers/directors£46,235

 

Average UK salary by age

As you age and spend more time in an industry, accruing more and more experience in your career, your value to employers naturally increases, and at the same time your expectations probably follow suit.

This is evident in the latest data which shows that those aged 40-49 are the highest earners in the UK, with an average salary of £31,476, an increase on 2021’s £29,956, with those below this age bracket “working their way up”.

Those aged older, in their 50s and above, see a reduced salary as people begin to take retirement or reduce hours as the need for money is typically reduced with children leaving home for example.

 

The UK average salary by age group in 2021 and 2022

 

In comparison, those aged under 21 and in full-time work earn over £19,000 less than that of 40-49-year-olds. Year-on-year we can see that all age groups have seen an increased average salary, with those in their 50s seeing the highest increase (£1,871).

 

Age and the gender pay gap in the UK

Across all the age groups, male workers make more than their female counterparts, with the highest percentage difference found in the 60+ bracket, where men earn 68.86% more than women.

The smallest gender pay gap is among those in the graduate age group (22-29), where male employees have an average salary 16.55% higher than females. In 2021, this same age group saw just a 6.93% gender pay gap.

 

You can see a full analysis of the average graduate salary in the UK in our complete report.

 

The full breakdown of age groups and gender pay gap in the UK can be seen in the table below.

 

AgeMenWomenPercentage DifferenceAverage Pay Difference
18-21£15,177£10,10550.19%£5,072
22-29£27,000£23,16616.55%£3,834
30-39£34,600£25,03938.18%£9,561
40-49£37,748£24,91151.53%£12,837
50-59£35,540£22,91355.11%£12,627
60+£28,049£16,61168.86%£11,438

 

Methodology:

Data was sourced and analysed from the latest Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Where duplicates or similar descriptions were used for roles, the highest value was retained and used in the analysis. Job titles were amended by our analysts when reviewing the ONS data to ensure clarity and consistency across our data.