Navigating the job market can be a daunting task, and determining what constitutes a good salary in the UK is a crucial part of your decision-making process.

As you explore various career options and prepare to negotiate your compensation, it’s important to be armed with the knowledge of industry trends and the average salaries available to professionals of your age and education.

What is a good salary in the UK?

What is a Good Salary in the UK?

UK salaries can vary significantly depending on factors such as the profession, location, and your experience.

For instance, positions in health and social care offer a median salary of £37,500, while sales and customer service professionals earn an average of £33,000 per year.

In general, the mean average salary across the entire UK in 2020 was £38,600 for full-time employees and £13,803 for part-time employees.

To better understand how your desired salary measures up, it’s essential to research your specific field and region before entering negotiations or making career moves.

As you embark on your career journey, keep in mind that your earning potential can change over time.

Experience plays a significant role in determining your salary, with young adults aged 16 to 17 earning an average of £229 per week, and the figures steadily increasing with age and years of experience.

Armed with this information, you can confidently navigate the job market and seek compensation that aligns with your skills, industry, and location.

Average Salary in the UK

UK Salary

Office for National Statistics Data

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the mean average salary across the UK in 2020 was £38,600 for full-time employees and £13,803 for those working part-time.

The average salary in England was £39,452 for those working full-time and £13,845 for part-time jobs.

In 2023, the median average salary for all employees in the UK is £27,756, while the mean average salary for those working full-time is £39,966.

For part-time employees, the median average salary is £12,247, and the mean average salary is £14,727.

Full-Time vs Part-Time Workers

When comparing full-time and part-time workers, there are some noticeable differences in average salaries. Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Full-time employees earn considerably more than part-time employees, with a mean average salary of £39,966 compared to £14,727 for part-time workers.
  • The median salary, which represents the middle point of all salaries, is also higher for full-time workers at £27,756.

In terms of age groups and their earnings, those aged 16 to 17 earned the least, with an average of £229 per week (£241 for men and £220 for women).

Influencing Factors on Salary


Your level of education plays a significant role in determining your salary. Higher levels of education usually lead to better-paid jobs.

Typically, individuals with a bachelor’s degree will earn more than those with a high school diploma, and those with a master’s degree or doctorate will earn even more.

Further qualifications and certifications in your field can also boost your earning potential.


As you progress through your career, your experience and skills often grow, resulting in higher salaries as you age.

The average UK salary tends to increase with age, peaking in the 40-49 age bracket before slightly decreasing for employees aged 50 or over.


While there has been progress towards addressing the gender pay gap in the UK, disparities between the earnings of men and women still exist.

Factors such as occupational segregation, part-time work, and career breaks for family reasons can all contribute to differences in salary based on gender.

It is essential to be aware of these factors and strive for pay equity in the workplace.


Your geographical location in the UK can impact your salary, with London and the South East typically offering higher salaries than other regions to account for the increased cost of living.

Conversely, you may find that lower salaries in other regions are balanced by a lower cost of living.

Average Salaries by Region (2021 estimates):
* London: £44,058
* South East: £37,835
* North West: £34,758
* West Midlands: £34,354


Different industries in the UK offer varying salary levels depending on the sector’s demands and skill requirements.

Some of the highest paying industries include finance and insurance, information and communication, and professional services.

It’s important to research average salaries within your chosen industry and make informed decisions about your career path.

Top Paying Occupations in the UK

Chief Executives and Senior Officials

As a chief executive or senior official, you can expect to earn an average salary of £79,835 in the UK.

These roles are among the highest-ranking positions in an organization and involve leading, planning, and managing various aspects to ensure the success of the business.

Financial Managers and Directors

If you’re considering a career in financial management or as a finance director, you’re in the right path towards a high-paying role.

Financial managers and directors in the UK typically earn an average salary of £61,118. Your role would entail managing financial operations, budgets, and strategies across the company.

Medical Practitioners

Medical practitioners, including doctors and specialists, tend to earn a substantial salary in the UK.

These high-demand professionals earn a significant income due to the importance and intricacy of their work.

While specific salaries will vary by specialty, medical practitioners generally earn a competitive remuneration.

Senior Police Officers

Pursuing a career in law enforcement can be highly rewarding, especially as a senior police officer.

These roles involve leading teams of officers, coordinating law enforcement, and ensuring public safety.

As a senior police officer, you’ll earn a comfortable salary in exchange for your dedication and expertise.

Train and Tram Drivers

Train and tram drivers are well-compensated in the UK. These professionals are responsible for navigating vehicles on rails and ensuring the safe transportation of passengers and goods.

As a train or tram driver, you can expect to earn an above-average salary in recognition of the essential role you play in public transportation.

Advertising Directors

Advertising directors are in high demand within the marketing and advertising industries. As an advertising director, you can expect to earn around £77,695 per year in the UK.

You’ll oversee campaigns, strategy, and new business, playing a vital role in helping organizations create and maintain successful advertising efforts.

Air Traffic Controllers

Air traffic controllers earn a substantial income in the UK. In this role, you’ll be responsible for managing the safe and efficient flow of aircraft through airspace.

You’ll need to be highly skilled and detail-oriented, as air traffic controllers play a crucial role in maintaining the safety of millions of passengers every year.

Other Job Sectors

In this section, we’ll be discussing average salaries in the UK for various job sectors, such as Engineers, Marketing, Sales, and Nurses.


As an engineer, you can expect your salary to vary depending on your experience and industry.

Entry-level engineering roles typically have an average starting salary of around £25,000, while more experienced engineers can earn around £45,000.

Senior and specialist engineers can even see their salaries exceed £60,000. Some sectors with higher average earnings for engineers include:

  • Aerospace: £42,000
  • Automotive: £40,000
  • Chemical: £38,000
  • Civil: £37,000
  • Electrical: £45,000
  • Mechanical: £40,000


In the marketing field, salaries can vary greatly based on your role, experience, and the size of the organization you work for.

Here are some average salaries for different marketing positions:

  • Marketing Assistant: £22,000
  • Marketing Executive: £28,000
  • Marketing Manager: £35,000
  • Marketing Director: £70,000

Keep in mind that depending on your skillset and experience, these figures can vary greatly.


Sales salaries are often comprised of a base salary and performance-related bonuses or commissions.

Therefore, your earnings will depend on your success in selling products or services. Typical UK sales salaries include:

  • Sales Assistant: £18,000
  • Sales Executive: £28,000
  • Sales Manager: £40,000
  • Sales Director: £75,000

Remember that commission-based roles mean you could potentially earn much higher than the average salary, depending on your ability to close deals.


As a nurse in the UK, your salary will depend on your experience, qualifications, and area of specialization.

The NHS pay scale, known as Agenda for Change (AfC), standardizes starting salaries for nurses. Here are some average salaries for nurses in the UK:

  • Band 5 (newly qualified nurse): £25,000
  • Band 6 (specialist nurse): £32,000
  • Band 7 (advanced nurse practitioner): £40,000

Private sector nursing salaries may differ from the NHS, but these figures should give you a rough idea of what to expect in the nursing profession.

Cost of Living and Salary Requirements

South East

In the South East of England, the average annual salary is around £32,810. While this may seem high, keep in mind that the cost of living in this region is also higher than in other parts of the UK.

You should consider factors such as housing costs, transportation, and general living expenses when evaluating whether a salary would be sufficient to live comfortably in the South East.

Live Comfortably in the UK

To live comfortably in the UK, it’s important to remember that the average full-time salary is £31,285 as of 2021.

However, this figure doesn’t include deductions for income tax and national insurance, and rising inflation has an impact on your purchasing power.

Your salary expectations should also be adjusted based on the specific industry you work in and the region where you live.

For example, London has a higher average salary of £39,716, but the cost of living is significantly higher than in other regions, so it’s crucial to take this into account.

Here’s a brief breakdown of factors to consider when determining if your salary is enough to live comfortably in the UK:

  • Housing costs: Renting or buying property can significantly impact your cost of living. Research the housing market in your region, including house prices and average rent rates, to get a sense of how much you will need to allocate for housing.
  • Transportation: Public transportation and fuel prices vary across the UK. Investigate the costs in your region, as well as potential discounts or passes for public transport that may be available.
  • Groceries and dining out: The cost of groceries and eating out will vary depending on where you live. It’s essential to account for these expenses when budgeting your salary.
  • Utilities and bills: Your utility bills (e.g., gas, electricity, water) and communication costs (e.g., internet and phone) will be ongoing expenses to factor into your planning.
  • Leisure activities: The cost of leisure activities, such as gym memberships, hobbies, and nights out, should be considered to ensure that your salary allows you to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

In conclusion, to live comfortably in the UK, it’s important to evaluate the cost of living in the region you reside, considering factors like housing, transportation, and daily living expenses.

This will help you determine whether a job with a specific salary would meet your needs.

Job Market Trends and Economic Uncertainty


Furlough had a significant impact on the UK job market. While it provided support for both businesses and employees during the pandemic, it also led to uncertainty in the workforce.

As furlough comes to an end, you may see an uptick in job vacancies and a shift in job market trends. Keep an eye on how the end of furlough shapes the workforce landscape in the coming months.

Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap remains a crucial issue in the UK job market.

While progress has been made in recent years, there’s still much to be done to achieve equitable opportunities and wages for people of all genders.

Consider researching your industry’s specific gender pay gaps and seeing how your own potential or current salary measures up.


Inflation is on the rise, which impacts wages and cost-of-living expenses across the board.

When considering what constitutes a good salary in the UK, be sure to take inflation into account. It may be helpful to track the inflation rate and adjust your salary expectations accordingly.

Interest Rates

Interest rates play a role in the economic landscape, impacting everything from mortgages to savings.

Though they might not seem directly related to your salary, interest rates can affect overall financial well-being.

It’s wise to keep an eye on interest rate trends to understand their potential effects on your financial situation.

Job Vacancies

The number of job vacancies in the UK has been on the rise. With more available positions, there’s an increase in competition for top talent, which could lead to higher wages.

Pay attention to job vacancies within your industry to gauge whether there’s room for salary growth or negotiation.

Negotiating a Salary in the UK

So, what is a good salary in the UK? Negotiating your salary in the UK is an essential skill for ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your work.

It’s also a good strategy for achieving a comfortable lifestyle and feeling satisfied with your job offer. Here are some key steps to successfully negotiate a salary:

  1. Research the market: Before starting salary negotiations, conduct research on average salaries for your position, location, and industry. This will give you a sense of what’s reasonable and competitive for the role you are applying for. Websites like Glassdoor and Indeed can be helpful resources.
  2. Calculate your value: Assess your experience, education, and skills to determine what you bring to the table. Consider achievements that showcase your capabilities, like project success or awards, which can help strengthen your negotiation position.
  3. Prepare your reasons: When negotiating, present justifications for why you deserve the salary you’re asking for. For example, you can highlight your qualifications, relevant experience, and industry demand for your skillset.
  4. Rehearse your negotiation pitch: Practice what you’re going to say during the negotiation, so you feel confident and well-prepared. This includes speaking clearly, expressing your needs assertively, and handling potential objections.
  5. Be flexible: When discussing a potential salary, consider non-monetary benefits like flexible working hours, additional paid time off, or professional development opportunities. These may play a significant role in your overall compensation package, so be open to alternatives if the salary cannot be increased.
  6. Don’t be afraid to walk away: If the offered salary or compensation package doesn’t meet your requirements, don’t be afraid to decline the offer. It’s better to hold out for a better opportunity that provides satisfactory compensation for your skills and experience.

By following the steps mentioned above and approaching the negotiation with a friendly but assertive attitude, you’ll increase your chances of getting the UK salary you deserve.


In determining what a good salary in the UK is, you need to consider various factors such as age, profession, location, and education.

Remember to account for differences in the cost of living across locations.

Living expenses in London will generally be higher than in other parts of the UK, and this can impact how far your salary will stretch.

Additionally, some industries offer higher average salaries than others.

It’s important to stay informed about market trends and industry-specific salary data.

For instance, engineering and manufacturing roles have seen a 5.2% rise in salaries, while accountancy and finance have experienced a 1.7% decrease.

A good salary is subjective and ultimately depends on your personal circumstances and lifestyle expectations.

A monthly salary of £4,000 or more can allow for a comfortable standard of living, with enough room for personal allowances, deductions, and savings.