Wondering what the average UK salary is in 2023? If so, you’re not alone.
A common trait amongst Brits is that we don’t like talking about money and how much we all earn.
Because of this, many people have no idea what the average UK salary is or whether they’re earning above or below it.
UK average salaries can vary between industries, from minimum wage earners to those on six figures.
Here, we explore the median salary in the UK, as well as the gender pay gap and which UK jobs pay the highest.
Want to know more? Scroll down to discover how your earnings stack up!
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UK average salary
According to the Office of National Statistics, or ONS, the UK average salary was £14,727 for part-time workers and £39,966 for full-time employees in 2022.
This has slightly increased from the average UK salary in 2020, which was £38,552 for full-time positions and £13,819 for part-time.
Additionally, the median average salary in 2022 is lower year on year – £12,247 for part-time and £33,000 for full-time. This is compared to £11,240 and £31,487 in 2020, respectively.
Median salaries are better numbers for comparing a wage. This approach means it’s less likely to get mixed up by the few people earning higher salaries.
The median salary is at the centre of all wages, a “middleman” whom you can judge your own salary against.
This is better than using the average salary, which is affected by the people who earn more than £62,645 each year.
But, does an average salary allow you enough income to pay the average household bills per month?
What is a good salary in the UK?
Between £2,500 and £3,000 is considered to be an ideal monthly net income in the UK. That salary could support a comfortable life in a city, including a two-bedroom flat, entertainment and leisure.
Not only that, but many Brits feel that a £2,000 a month income after tax is the minimum required amount for a single person to live a good lifestyle.
A £40,000 gross salary is what you would need to live a comfortable but not extravagant life in the UK. This is also the salary a couple with kids would need to live well.
It would mean you’d be making enough to rent an apartment or a car, dine out, and go on regular holidays.
The Gender Pay Gap
The latest data from the ONS shows that the average UK male full-time employee earns 14.9% more than his female counterpart.
However, in part-time work, the pay gap difference is in favour of female employees, with women earning 2.22% more than men.
This is because more women work in part-time positions than men. In 2021, for full-time employees, the gender pay gap was 15.1% in favour of male employees. The part-time difference was in favour of women by 17.4%.
Which jobs have the biggest gender pay gap?
The newest data shows that male workers earn 50% more than their female co-workers in the five professions with the biggest wage gaps.
This means that male workers in these jobs earn the same wage as female workers in the same role in around half the time.
Mobile machine drivers, such as those who work in pile driving or tarmac surfacing, have the biggest UK gender pay gap. In these roles, male workers are paid 57.99% more than female workers.
Is there an improvement in the gender pay gap?
Yes. But this improvement doesn’t apply to all age groups equally. Workers aged 40 and over still experience a higher gap than younger workers – as much as 10% or over in many roles.
This is because there are more men than women moving up into highly-paid managerial roles after age 39. After this age, the UK average salary tends to increase.
Which factors affect UK average salaries?
It’ll come as no surprise that Londoners are making the most money – an average of £728 every week.
The capital’s median salary is £68 higher per week than the second highest in the South East, with an average of £660. It’s also £117 higher than the median figure for the rest of the UK.
Remember, though, that this number is given a boost thanks to the city’s mega earners, such as CEOs on six figures.
Regionally, the North East has the lowest average pay, with full-time workers earning £547 per week.
However, you then need to factor in that it can cost less overall to live in other areas.
Find out the cheapest places to live in the UK to see if it’s worth a move to get more disposable income out of your salary.
The industry you’re working in may be the reason you’re not earning as much as your friends.
Now, if you’re fiercely passionate about what you do and your salary is enough for you to support yourself, that’s great! But, if you’re doing it solely for the money, it may be time for a career change.
Age and experience
Having experience in the working world will always pay better. People in the 16 to 17 age bracket earned the least in 2021 with an average salary of £220 a week – £220.40 for women and £219.10 for men.
Incidentally, this age bracket is the only one in which women tend to earn more than men. The figures jump all the way to £327 and £354 for women and men in the 18-21 age group.
Once you get to the 40-49 age group, your earnings can potentially reach an average of £704 per week, making this the highest-paid age bracket.
Unfortunately, after this, the average UK salary starts to decrease as you get closer to retirement age. Full-time employees can expect to earn around £648 a week.
But what about those aged 60 and over? The average UK figure sits at £575, but these numbers can also begin to dip. This is because of employees retiring, decreasing the average earnings quite a lot.
Private or public sector
Typically, public sector salaries are higher than jobs in the private sector. In 2020, the UK median salary for full-time workers in the private sector was £30,973.
But, those in the public sector earned slightly more, with the median average UK salary being £32,743.
When should you get a raise?
Are you unhappy with your current salary? If so, now’s the time to start working towards that pay rise. We’re not suggesting that you suddenly burst into your boss’s office demanding more money, though.
You should expect a raise around once per year, so if your average weekly earnings have recently gone up, you’ll probably have to make do with it for now.
But, if it’s been a year, or even more, since your earnings were given a boost, it’s a good idea to start planning your strategy.
The best way to ask for a pay rise
A good time to request a pay rise is during your next performance review, so make sure to check when the next one is. Unfortunately, your approach to the subject largely depends on your superior’s personality.
If they’re a direct and no-nonsense kind of person, sending an email in the lead-up to the review is a good idea.
In the email, you can state that you’d like to discuss your salary, to avoid any surprises. In other cases, you may have to discuss it in another conversation.
Whenever you do bring up the topic, have a good case prepared for why you should have the raise.
Have you created new strategies that have benefitted the company? Have you taken on more responsibility since you last had a pay rise?
Think about what you’ve done during the last year and have your case clear before you ask for more money.
A conversation like this needs confidence – the worst thing you can do is sound nervous or forget key points. Rehearsing in front of a mirror is always a good idea!
How big of a pay rise should you ask for?
Before you go in with all guns blazing, you need to have an idea of how much extra money to expect.
Check out the average salaries of other workers in your role – you could even ask your friends and acquaintances how much they’re earning.
Don’t feel awkward about having conversations about finances with your friends. The less you stay in the dark about other people’s earnings, the more confident you’ll feel talking to your manager about a raise.
Once you’ve done your research, you can decide how much you want to increase your earnings or wait for a figure to be suggested by your manager.
Remember, asking for a raise is a delicate matter, so the latter option is probably the best. If the suggested figure is too low, you can always try to negotiate.
It’s better to slowly make your way towards your desired figure than go straight in with an eye-watering high number that immediately gets rejected.
What to do if your pay rise request is rejected
If the worst happens and your request is rejected, don’t feel disheartened.
Think of it as an opportunity to show you’re eager to stay at the company and boost your performance. Ask what you could do to warrant a future pay rise and walk out of the negotiation with pride.
Keep in mind, though, that a pay rise rejection isn’t always personal. These days, some companies simply can’t afford to give out regular pay rises.
How to negotiate the salary for a new job offer
If the company you work for isn’t able to offer you a pay rise, it may be time to think about a new job.
If you decide to do this, keep in mind that negotiating your new salary is super important for getting off to a good start.
Wait for your potential new employer to offer a number, thank them, but politely request time to think about it before you snap their arm off.
It might be tempting to snatch up the offer straight away, but thinking about it shows that you’re wise. It’ll also give you a chance to consider the offer without your judgement being clouded by excitement.
The best way to approach a negotiation
In some ways, negotiating the salary of a new job is like asking for a pay rise in your current one.
You’ll need to be armed with the knowledge of how much other people in the same field earn, and you’ll need to sell yourself. But, you’re already good at this if you’re in this position anyway.
When beginning the negotiation with your new manager, broaching the subject without being defensive is crucial.
Outline your desired figure as a suggestion rather than a demand. Stay eager about the job because the aim is to come across as a valuable and loyal team member.
Never give out an ultimatum. This will put your employer off immediately, potentially leaving you jobless. If salary negotiations don’t work, try negotiating employee benefits like bonuses or holidays.
These will seem like small requests, so your employer may be more inclined to go for them. This is especially true if you’ve kept the charm on throughout the meeting!
Dealing with rejection
If there’s no chance of any negotiation, it may be worth asking if a pay review is possible once you’ve got through the probation period.
This will give you a chance to show off your abilities in the role and will give you the confidence to argue your case. Remember, your worth isn’t defined by your salary!
How to get the most out of your salary
Many financial goals can be achieved with careful budgeting, and it means you don’t need to compromise on the essentials. It’s vital to save first and spend after instead of the other way around.
A good rule of thumb is to spend 50% of your salary on essentials, 15% on personal purchases and 35% should go into your savings (check out the average savings in the UK).
Saving money without any goals is a bad idea. You could be depriving yourself if you don’t actually know what you’re saving money for. Think about which short and long-term goals you’d like to achieve.
Some short-term goals could be a holiday, buying a car, or some new furniture. Long-term goals could include buying your first home or going to university.
Keep an eye on your spending
Remember to keep track of how much you’re spending, especially with personal purchases. Gifts and impulsive buys can quickly add up!
Which UK jobs have the lowest average salaries?
In 2022, childcare workers once again had the lowest average UK earnings, with take-home pay of just £6,925, 3.4% more than in 2021. After childcare workers, bar staff had the second lowest average earnings in the UK, taking home £7,844.
What are the highest-paid jobs in the UK?
You probably think of CEOs when you imagine the highest paid jobs in the UK, but they’re actually in second place now. Advertising directors, sales, and marketing positions are now the highest-paid roles in the UK.
This is partly because of the CEO role suffering a 2.2% average earnings decline. IT directors are in third place, with average salaries of £68,912
What is an above-average UK salary?
In the UK, £50,000 could be classed as an above-average annual salary. The UK average salary for a family with both parents working is £40,000, so £50,000 would be an above-average income of 67% more.
What’s more, you wouldn’t pay high taxes on this income and would still be in the 20% bracket. You’d pay around £13,000 in National Insurance and income tax leaving you with roughly £37,000.