How much are people paid in 2019?

Jon Boys, Labour Market Economist at the CIPD.

Last week a question time audience member refused to believe that earning over £80,000 put him in the top 5% of earners. In fact, he went further and suggested that he wasn’t in the top 50% and that every doctor, accountant, and solicitor in the country earns more than £80,000. Of course he was wrong, but the condemnation was tentative and subsequent reporting cited a range of figures as typical for the average UK worker including:

These differing estimates, some more enlightened than others, highlight a general truth. Most of us don’t know how much everyone else is paid! This is a shame because there is so much data available for us to work with. Of course, what people are paid differs by occupation, industry, and region amongst other things. This blog looks at each of these things in turn.

What are people paid in 2019?

My preferred figure for what a typical job pays is £30,353. This is the median gross earnings of a full-time employee in 2019 according to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. If we include everyone (part-time and full-time) the figure drops down to £24,897 (So the Independent did a good job citing these two figures). A full-time man earned £32,882 compared to £26,774 for a full-time woman. One number to rule them all clearly takes a lot of nuance out of the picture.

Occupations

Table 1 ranks the earnings of a range of occupations and also gives the lower and upper quartile (between which half of employees lie). 4 of these occupations relate to the people profession (underlined and in bold).

Table 1: Annual Gross earnings of a full-time employee in 2019 by occupation

Occupation

Lower quartile

Median (Headline earnings)

Upper quartile

Chief executives

£67,252

£97,708

£148,713

Marketing directors

£54,940

£80,411

£109,931

Doctors

£44,676

£72,019

£109,496

Train drivers

£53,068

£56,591

£64,214

IT specialists

£37,987

£47,807

£63,805

HR managers and directors

£36,419

£47,800

£64,422

Pharmacists

£35,065

£42,674

£49,055

Management consultants and business analysts

£30,940

£41,695

£56,986

Police officers (sergeant and below)

£35,421

£41,284

£46,154

Civil engineers

£35,015

£41,117

£51,500

Architects

£34,993

£40,987

£51,611

Paramedics

£35,711

£39,605

£43,803

Secondary school teachers

£31,733

£39,279

£45,675

Accountants

£29,983

£38,805

£50,166

Surveyors

£30,220

£37,015

£46,632

Finance and investment analysts and advisers

£29,401

£36,596

£50,000

Social workers

£29,972

£34,853

£39,280

Public relations professionals

£25,730

£34,168

£43,444

Journalists

£26,504

£34,064

£44,819

Scaffolders

£28,148

£33,894

£44,790

Nurses

£27,736

£33,242

£40,189

Office managers

£25,000

£32,209

£41,741

Plumbers

£25,813

£31,370

£37,241

Buyers

£25,468

£30,904

£39,266

HGV drivers

£25,464

£30,516

£35,577

All employees

£21,870

£30,353

£42,642

HR and industrial relations officers

£23,479

£29,462

£36,623

Vocational and industrial trainers and instructors

£23,354

£28,709

£35,919

Housing officers

£24,151

£27,875

£30,767

PAs and other secretaries

£22,026

£27,639

£36,147

Graphic designers

£23,512

£27,516

£32,078

Welders

£22,833

£27,449

£32,462

Postal workers

£24,862

£27,344

£32,140

Carpenters and joiners

£22,278

£27,053

£31,927

Bricklayers

£22,996

£26,786

£30,341

Book-keepers

£20,699

£25,528

£33,482

Youth workers

£22,216

£25,514

£29,731

Roofers

£21,438

£25,243

£30,723

Security guards

£19,956

£25,043

£30,918

Painters and decorators

£21,412

£24,930

£29,030

Van drivers

£18,799

£22,959

£30,000

Chefs

£18,905

£22,905

£27,392

Bank and post office clerks

£19,112

£22,892

£27,427

Butchers

£19,349

£22,009

£25,664

HR administrative occupations

£18,267

£21,407

£24,073

Refuse collectors

£18,363

£20,380

£24,270

Bakers

£17,312

£19,373

£22,884

Care workers

£15,631

£19,104

£23,660

Call centre operatives

£16,561

£18,994

£22,335

Receptionists

£16,126

£18,358

£21,869

Shelf fillers

£17,137

£18,335

£20,920

Sales and retail assistants

£15,408

£18,164

£22,956

Cleaners and domestics

£14,663

£17,380

£20,626

Teaching assistants

£14,406

£17,091

£20,652

Kitchen and catering assistants

£13,673

£16,711

£19,547

Bar staff

£13,320

£16,195

£18,592

It is no surprise that chief executives come out top. Functional directors such as marketing and HR are not far behind. Highly skilled specialists such as doctors and IT specialists also feature highly. As the earnings of an occupation increases the range gets much larger. If you were to meet a bar staff, you could be fairly certain their salary was about £16,195 but if you were to meet a chief executive the median figure of £97,708 is a much less accurate guide. At the bottom a large proportion of earnings are set by government in the form of minimum wage legislation. At the top there are many more factors to consider such as years of experience, industry, and size of company. For this reason, pay at the top end is set by specialist remuneration committees. In the middle it often falls to HR to find a rate that rewards talent whilst staying competitive.

Industries

There is a greater deal of overlap within industries with the upper quartile of the lowest paid (hospitality) overlapping with the lowest quarter of the highest paid (finance). Hospitality needs higher paid managers as much as finance needs lower paid administrators. There is still a clear and perhaps intuitive hierarchy of industries.

Table 2: Annual Gross earnings of a full-time employee in 2019 by industry

Industry

Lower quartile

Median

Upper quartile

Finance and insurance

£27,416

£42,696

£73,788

Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply

£29,607

£41,609

£56,914

Information and communication

£29,185

£40,675

£58,577

Mining and quarrying

£31,578

£39,959

x

Professional, scientific and technical

£26,286

£37,097

£54,638

Public admin and defence

£25,832

£33,738

£42,724

Construction

£25,481

£33,703

£46,383

Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities

£25,432

£33,410

£42,838

Education

£22,557

£31,932

£41,734

Transport and storage

£24,323

£30,831

£40,425

Manufacturing

£22,619

£30,637

£42,229

All employees

£21,870

£30,353

£42,642

Real Estate

£22,828

£29,166

£40,424

Health and social work

£19,704

£26,864

£37,472

Administrative

£19,424

£26,692

£38,000

Other service activities

£20,260

£26,643

£37,258

Arts, entertainment and recreation

£19,500

£25,329

£36,264

Wholesale and retail

£19,096

£25,294

£36,091

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

£19,562

£24,988

£32,539

Hospitality

£16,886

£21,007

£28,365

 

Regions

London clearly pulls away from the pack particularly in the case of the top earners. However, there is a great deal of overlap in the ranges for all regions. There are generally high and low earners to be found in all regions of the UK, and outside of London and the South East there is a relatively narrow range of median earnings.

Table 2: Annual Gross earnings of a full-time employee in 2019 by region

Region

Lower quartile

Median

Upper quartile

United Kingdom

£21,870

£30,353

£42,642

North East

£20,356

£27,187

£37,380

North West

£20,609

£28,137

£39,693

Yorkshire and The Humber

£20,541

£27,835

£38,125

East Midlands

£20,508

£28,000

£38,833

West Midlands

£20,955

£28,536

£40,043

East

£22,072

£30,345

£42,127

London

£27,299

£38,992

£58,082

South East

£23,049

£32,120

£45,123

South West

£21,099

£28,654

£39,607

Wales

£20,447

£27,500

£38,163

Scotland

£21,808

£30,000

£40,452

Northern Ireland

£20,504

£27,434

£38,202

 

This blog has only scratched the surface of the data. Subsequent blogs will dig a bit deeper.

For a slightly more beautiful and interactive version of the tables above:

Occupations

Industries

Region

Or go directly to the ASHE data used

Table 14: Occupations

Table 4: Industries

Table 3: regions

Read the CIPD's latest Reward management survey report which  focuses on the issue of pay fairness, the role of line managers and how employers manage base and variable pay.

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