Six factors that influence salaries in the UK

We look at Payscale, Market Week, Marketing Week and Michael Page salary surveys to investigate the top six factors that that influence salaries in the UK. 

photo credit: byronv2 via photopin cc

It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the UK. Gender, location, education, occupation and experience all play a role in determining your take-home salary. photo credit: byronv2 via photopin cc


Where you stay in the UK clearly matters in influencing your income (and that’s before you even factor in the costs of commuting). For example, a Category Manager in London can earn anything from £40K to £55K; in Scotland, the same job pays anything from £55K to £70K. In the West Midlands however, you’ll take home far less – £38K to £45K.  This is according to a recent Michael Page salary survey.


When it comes to salary, we all know that the private sector rewards you with a higher income across the board, but just how much excatly? Market Week’s salary review reveals that in 2013, a Brand Manager in telecoms earned an average of £43,500, while a Brand Manager working for a charity or in the education sector earned around £28,436. That’s a £15,064 difference.


Gender matters. In 2013, Marketing Week found that female CEOs in the marketing industry earned an average of £82,714, while their male counterparts were raking in an average of £126,764. Male Managing Directors earned £90,142, while female MDs earned an average of £65,130.


Payscale shows that a carpenter with an NVQ Level 2 qualification earns an average of £11.71, while those with a Level 3 qualification earn an average of £14.46. A Chartered Certified Account earns an average of £31,432, a worker with a Higher National Diploma receives a salary of £25,356, and a Project Management Professional with a PMP qualification an average of £51,206.

Figures taken from the Labour Force Survey in 2011 showed that over the previous decade, graduates earned an average of £12,000 more per annum than employees without degrees.


It pays to have experience. The median salary in the UK, according to Payscale, is £19,915 for workers with less than a year’s experience. Those with five to nine years’ experience are earning an average of £30,587, while the median salary for workers with 20 years’ experience is £39,933.

Permanent employee versus contractor

Often, contractors earn more than permanent employees as they can potentially earn a higher hourly or day rate and can often save substantially on tax. According to Payscale, a carpenter working full-time for a salary receives an average of £11.46 per hour, whereas a contractor can charge anything from £15 – £25 an hour.

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