Home Money Best paid jobs and biggest pay rises: How does your salary compare to the UK average for your profession?

Best paid jobs and biggest pay rises: How does your salary compare to the UK average for your profession?

by Elijah
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Best paid jobs and biggest pay rises: How does your salary compare to the UK average for your profession?

Whether you are at the beginning of your career, considering a career change, or thinking about asking for a salary increase, understanding what others are paid will help you.

But how much do you know about the average salary of different professions?

You can use our interactive tool below to search for your occupation and see average salaries, plus the biggest and smallest pay increases from the past year.

How much does an average director earn? Do all CEOs earn over £1m and what pay rise did travel agents typically get last year?

Figures from the Office for National Statistics shed light on average pay across UK occupations, as well as revealing which jobs saw the biggest pay rises in 2023.

In many cases, you can also see what the top 10 percent and bottom 10 percent of earners are paid in specific roles.

Enter the occupation you are looking for in the search box and you can reorder the columns from highest to lowest and vice versa by clicking on them at the top.


What you need to know about salary figures.

The figures in our table are for full-time earnings and come from the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings report for 2023. This is the official, comprehensive view of earnings across all occupations and provides two average figures, the mean and median. .

The average is that if you take all the salaries for that occupation and add them up, then divide by the number of jobs to get an average figure.

The median is if you line up all the earners in that job in a row, from lowest to highest, and then take the middle figure for your average.

The ONS’s preferred way of measuring the average is to use the average salary, which gives a better picture of the average individual’s income: it is less likely to be biased by a few very high or very low incomes.

We’ve sorted our table on average salaries, but we also provide the mean and the average annual change for the mean, as these are the most complete data. Wherever possible, we have also included the average of the top 10 percent and bottom 10 percent of earners in each position.

We analyze what each sector pays its employees on average per year and which jobs experienced the best and worst salary increases in 2023.

Where possible we have included figures for the top 10 per cent and bottom 10 per cent of earners, but there are a number of occupations where this information is missing from ONS statistics.

What are the best paying jobs?

Unsurprisingly, CEOs and senior staff top the list of the UK’s highest-paid full-time jobs, earning £84,131 on average.

However, for many that will not seem like much. Don’t all chief executives receive salaries of over a million pounds?

Not quite. Firstly, because the figures correspond to executive directors and senior officials, not just executive directors; and secondly, because the data covers chief executives of the full range of British companies, from those where staff can be counted on two hands, to those where employees number in the dozens or hundreds, to large companies that employ thousands.

However, this median average of £84,131 marks a fraction of what FTSE 100 chief executives earn, with the country’s top bosses taking home £3.81 million a year on average (excluding pension payments), according to the High Pay Centre. Executives at companies listed on the FTSE 350 earn an average of £1.32m.

Those high earners take the average for CEOs and senior staff to more than £120,000, and note that bonuses are not included.

Marketing, sales and advertising directors closely follow chief executives with a gross full-time salary of £83,015, while IT directors earn £80,000 on average.

PR and communications directors are doing well, earning £79,886, while directors are also among the highest earners, earning £66,014 per year.

But Department for Education figures show this can vary widely. The minimum salary for a director in England, excluding London, is £53,380, while the maximum is £131,046. In inner London this rises to £62,304 and £139,891 respectively.

In comparison, the average salary for teaching professionals is £41,800, according to the ONS.

At the other end of the scale, theme park and leisure attendants earned just £17,860 in a full-time role, followed by bar staff, waiters and waitresses, and supermarket workers.

Hospitality workers tend to be paid very little and tend to be younger, meaning they tend to fall into the lower bracket of the minimum wage.

The national minimum wage for 18-20 year olds is £7.49, while 21 and 22 year olds earn £10.18 an hour. The national living wage, for people aged 23 and over, is £10.42, which is equivalent to around £21,700 a year with a 40-hour week.

Which jobs had the biggest pay increases in 2023?

ONS figures for January revealed that growth in regular earnings, excluding bonuses, was 6.6 per cent between September and November 2023, while annual growth in average total earnings, including bonuses, was of 6.5 percent during the same period.

Some occupations earned much more than that, according to ONS figures.

It was a good year for clothing and accessories designers, who received a 29.3 per cent pay rise over the course of 2023 to earn an average salary of £40,503.

Employees working in the travel sector also experienced bumper pay increases, with travel agents and air travel assistants seeing their income increase by 20.5 and 16.5 percent, respectively.

Aircraft maintenance and related activities also earned 22.2 percent more than the previous year.

Despite the difficulties of the hospitality sector, pub owners and managers earned 18.2 per cent more in 2023, although their average salary of £33,477 remains at the lower end of the scale.

Bar staff did not see a similar increase, and supervisors saw a 6.9 percent increase in their take-home pay.

Clinical psychologists experienced the biggest pay cut of 12.5 per cent to £36,315, while coaches and sports officials saw their pay fall 10.6 per cent on average to £23,206.

Delivery operators also saw a 10 per cent drop in pay to £22,193, meaning they are among the lowest paid employees in the UK.

Work in the healthcare sector saw similar falls: health and social services managers and directors faced an 8.8 per cent cut to £26,313, while children’s nurses suffered a 7.8 per cent fall to £34,024.

Construction technicians, librarians and tax experts also saw their salaries fall below inflation, meaning they lost money in real terms.

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