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

Whether you’re starting your career, considering a career change, or thinking about asking for a raise, it helps to understand what others are getting paid.

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

What does the average headteacher earn, do all headteachers have a salary of over a million pounds, and how big is the pay rise that travel agents typically got last year?

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

You can use our interactive tool below to search your occupation and see average salaries at both median and average levels (we explain these below).

You can also look up last year’s average pay increase and, in many cases, what the top 10 percent and bottom 10 percent of earners in that position are paid.

Enter the profession you are looking for in the search box and you can rearrange the columns from largest to smallest and vice versa by clicking on it 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’s annual hours and earnings survey for 2023. This is the official and comprehensive look at earnings for all occupations and provides two average figures: the mean and the median . .

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

The median is when you list all the earners for that job, from low to high, and then take the middle number as the average.

The ONS’s preferred way of measuring the average is to use the median salary, which provides a better representation of the average individual’s income; income is less likely to be distorted by a few very high or very low earners.

We organized our table by median salaries, but also provided the mean and average annual change for the mean, as this is the most comprehensive data. Where possible, we have also included the average of the top 10 percent of earners and the bottom 10 percent of earners in each role.

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

What are the highest paying jobs?

Unsurprisingly, CEOs and senior executives top the list of the highest paid full-time jobs in Britain, with an average income of £84,131.

However, to many that will seem low. Don’t all CEOs have salaries of over a million pounds?

Not quite. First, because the figures include top executives and senior officers, not just CEOs; and secondly, because the data covers top managers from all UK companies, from those where the staff can be counted on two hands, to those where the number of employees is in the tens to several hundreds, right through to large companies employing thousands employ employees.

However, this £84,131 average is a fraction of what FTSE 100 CEOs earn, with the country’s top bosses taking home £3.81 million a year, according to the High Pay Centre. Executives at companies listed on the FTSE 350 earn an average of £1.32 million.

These high earners push the average average for top executives to over £120,000 – and note that bonuses are not included.

Marketing, sales and advertising directors follow closely behind the CEOs with a gross full-time salary of £83,015, while IT directors earn an average of £80,000.

PR and communications directors are doing well, earning £79,886, while school principals are also among the top earners, earning £66,014 a year.

But figures from the Ministry of Education show that this can vary greatly. The minimum salary for a headteacher in England, excluding London, is £53,380, while the maximum is £131,046. In central London this rises to £62,304 and £139,891 respectively.

By comparison, the average salary for education professionals is £41,800, according to the ONS.

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

Hospitality workers are often paid very little and are often younger, which means they often fall into the bottom bracket of the minimum wage.

The national minimum wage for 18 to 20 year olds is £7.49, while those aged 21 and 22 earn £10.18 per hour. The national living wage for those aged 23 and over is £10.42.

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Which jobs saw the biggest wage increases in 2023?

January figures from the ONS showed that growth in regular earnings, excluding bonuses, was 6.6 percent between September and November 2023, while annual growth in average total earnings, including bonuses, was 6.5 percent over the same period amounted to.

Some professions received much more, the ONS figures show.

It was a strong 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.

Travel industry workers have also seen huge pay increases, with travel agents and flight travel assistants seeing pay increases of 20.5 and 16.5 percent respectively.

Aircraft maintenance and related activities also earned 22.2 percent more this year.

Despite difficulties within the hospitality sector, pub owners and managers took home 18.2 per cent more in 2023, although their average salary of £33,477 is still at the bottom of the scale.

Bar staff saw no similar luxury, while supervisors saw a 6.9 percent increase in their take-home pay.

On the other hand, clinical psychologists saw the biggest pay cut of 12.5 per cent to £36,315, while sports coaches and officials saw their wages fall by an average of 10.6 per cent to £23,206.

Delivery drivers also saw their wages fall by 10 percent to £22,193, meaning they are among the lowest paid workers in Britain.

Healthcare work saw a similar decline, with health and social services managers and directors facing cuts of 8.8 per cent to £26,313, while pediatric nurses saw a fall of 7.8 per cent to £34,024.

Construction technicians, librarians and tax experts all saw their wages fall in real terms as well.

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