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Average UK Salary | 2020 & 2021

What is the average UK salary in 2020? How much should I expect to earn in 2021? Find out the average UK salary 2021 in our latest update.


What is the Average UK Salary in 2020/2021?

According to the ONS, in 2020 the average UK salary was £38,600 for a full-time role and £13,803 for part-time role. This is an increase from their 2019 figures, which placed the average UK wage for a full-time role at £36,611 and part-time at £12,495.

The median salary for full-time work was also higher year on year, £31,461 for full-time work and £11,234 for part-time work.The median salary in the UK is a better number to compare your wage against, as it is less suspectible to being skewed by a few people earning a considerable amount of money. The median sits directly in the centre of all the wages, a true "middlepoint" against which you can judge your own earnings, rather than the average which is affected by the 10% who earn over £62,589+ per year. 

How did COVID-19 affect the Average UK Salary?

In terms of the ONS' figures, not as significantly as you might think. It's the 2021 figures that will reflect the true impact of COVID-19 on our earnings, as the report is based on statistics taken between April and April (the UK tax year).

Whilst the UK went into lockdown and employees were furloughed it's thought that the biggest impact was felt between June and August 2020 when redundancies increased to almost 2008/9 economic crash levels (source: ONS labour force survey).

Between June and August 2020 non-planned redundancies increased by 113,000 on the year to 227,000 overall. The annual increase was the largest since April to June 2009, with the number of redundancies reaching its highest level since May to July 2009.


Average UK Salary 2020 Top 10 Best Paid Jobs

According to the provisional ONS figures, Chief Executives once again take home the highest pay in 2020, topping even airline pilots as the best paying job.

Chief exeuctives earn a median salary of £97,083 per annum. Airline pilots, whilst making the most on average tend to see more variation in their pay, giving them a lower median salary. 

Doctors and medical professionals came in second, earning an average salary of £79,767 and a median salary of £75,855.

You can see the ONS list of top paying jobs below, or search all jobs by salary on our dedicated portal!

average-uk-salary

UK Average Salary 2020 

Average Full-Time Salary

£38,600

Average Part-Time Salary

£13,803

Gender Pay Gap

7.4%*

We already know that 2020 was an anomaly year and thus figures for 2020 will be somewhat skewed, however, one good thing to come out of it was that the gender pay gap continued to decrease in the UK for full-time workers.

In 2019 the gender pay gap was estimated at 8.3% for full-time work, and 17.4% overall for all workers. In 2020 this has fallen to 7.4% and 15.% respectively, which is a positive trend.

Why is the gender pay gap so much higher for all employees?

The gender pay gap for full-time employees looks quite low: 7.4% - but the pay gap for all employees seems very high: 15.5%. Why is this?

There are a number of factors as to why the gender pay gap is much higher when it takes both part-time and full-time work into account than when it looks at one or the other individually. 

Firstly, the average hourly wage for someone working part-time is lower than for someone working full-time. Part time workers take home an average of £9.36 per hour, whereas full-time workers take home around £14. 

Secondly, women are more likely to work part-time than men in the UK. Whilst 42% of women in the UK work part-time, only 15% of men work part-time.

Even though women may earn slightly more than men when working part-time, 58% of women still work full-time and in those roles, they earn around 10% less than men.

Thus when you calculate how much the average women earns (across both full-time and part-time work) and compare that with what the average man earns (across both full-time and part-time work) you are left with a 15.5% difference. For more on this, Jonathan Athow has an excellent article explaining the calculation.

Is the gender pay gap improving?

In short, yes, and it has been improving for over a decade. The gap has fallen by nearly 25% amongst full-time employees and by just over a fifth among all employees.

However, this improvement does not hit all age brackets equally. Those aged 40+ are still experiencing a higher gender pay gap than those younger than 40, a gap of over 10% in most roles.

Find out more about the gender pay gap your age group experiences below.

Read or download our full UK Average Salary Guide!

Read our full average salary guide, complete with an A-Z list of all job titles and their average salary and see whether you're earning above or below the average!

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2020 / 2021

Earnings and gender pay gap by age

Average UK Salary: 18-21 year olds

Average full-time salary: 

£18,881

Average part-time salary:

£7,142

Gender pay gap

1.2%

Those aged 22-29 have seen their wages increase year on year by about 7%. The average earnings for those aged between 18 and 21 now sit closer to £19,000 as the average and £18,087 as the median (the middlepoint of all wages). Of course some may earn over that amount, and the ONS estimates that just 10% of all 18-21 year olds earn upwards of £26,000. 

Part-time wages has also seen an increase, rising roughly 5% year on year. The average part-time salary now sits at £7,142 and the median salary at £6,514. At the top end of the spectrum, just 10% of 18-21 year olds working part-time earn more than £13,000 per annum.

The gender pay gap has risen slightly from 2019 (where it sat at 1%) but overall has seen a significant downward trend from 2014 onwards, tracking from around 5% down to 1%.

Average UK Salary: 22-29 year olds

Average full-time salary: 

£29,209

Average part-time salary:

£11,811

Gender pay gap

1.2%

Those aged between 22 and 29 years old have seen the largest year on year wage increase for part-time work of all the age groups, with an 8.8% increase and the second highest increase for full-time work, with a jump of 5.6%

The median full-time wage (or middle salary) for those aged 22 to 29 is £26,096. At the upper end of the scale just 10% of those aged between 22 and 29 are earning around £40,000 per year and only 30% are earning over £30,000.

The gender pay gap has remained low for this age bracket too, seeing a 0.9% decrease from the 2% gap in 2019. However this age group has consistently seen some of the smallest gender pay gaps, sitting at an average of 0.2% for the last decade (the lowest years being 2013-15 where the pay gap was -0.7).

average-uk-salary

Average UK Salary: 30-39 year olds

Average full-time salary: 

£38,317

Average part-time salary:

£15,096

Gender pay gap

0.7%

For those aged 30-29 the average salary has not increase significantly year on year for full-time work, climbing just 2.3% in 2020 vs. 2019.

However, part-time workers in this age bracket have seen nearly a 7% increase in their wages and earn a median salary of £12k per annum part-time, and an average salary of £15k part time (these figures are so different between 20% of people aged 30-39 working part-time earn between £20k and £28k per annum).

Meanwhile on the top end of the full-time scale, just 10% of those aged 30-39 earn over £60k per year, whereas 30% earn more than £40k per annum.

The gender pay gap for those aged between 30 and 39 continues to decrease and has been decreasing, on average, since 2009. 

Average UK Salary: 40-49 year olds

Average full-time salary: 

£44,439

Average part-time salary:

£15,408

Gender pay gap

11.2%

The average salary for those aged between 40 and 49 has seen a 3.5% increase on 2019 and now sits at £44,439 for full-time work and £15,408 for part-time work

The median wage for those aged between 40 and 49 (£35,904 for 2020) has also increased by 3.6% meaning that more people are earning a higher amount. At the top end of the scale, just 10% of those aged 40-49 earn over £70k per annum, the highest for all age groups.

Furthermore, 40% of those aged 40-49 earn over £40,000 per year (which is higher than the UK average salary of £38k).

The gender pay gap for 40-49 year olds sits at 11.2%, which is considerably higher than those aged 39 and below, however the pay gap has been decreasing steadily since 1997 where the gap was 24%, the highest of all the age brackets and has contnued to reduce from where it sat at around 16% between 2010 - 2013.

average-uk-salary

Average UK Salary: 50-59 year olds

Average full-time salary: 

£41,485

Average part-time salary:

£14,650

Gender pay gap

12.8%

Those aged betwen 50 and 59 have seen part-time wages increase by nearly 8% in 2020 for the average wage and 5.5% for the median wage (£11,914).

There is much bigger discrepancy in this age group between the average full-time salary and the median full-time salary. Whilst the average salary for a full-time worker is £41k the median salary is £33k, as only 40% of those aged 50-59 earn above £30k per year, and just 10% earn more than £68k.

There is also quite a discrepency between male and female earnings, with 10% of men aged 50-59 earning more than £77k per year, as opposed to the top 10th percetile of female earners who take home £57k per year. 

The gender pay gap for this age bracket is high, sitting at 12.8% across all employees, although this is a decrease from 2019 (16.4%) and a significant departure from its highest point in 2002 where the gap was 21.9%

Average UK Salary: ages 60+

Average full-time salary: 

£36,123

Average part-time salary:

£12,998

Gender pay gap

13%

Full-time wages for those aged 60+ has increased by 2.5% year on year, whereas part-time wages have increased by 7.2%. The average salary for a full-time employee now sits at £36k (vs. a median salary of £33k) and part-time workers can expect to take home £12k per annum (vs. a median salary of £10k).

At the top end of the scale, 10% of those aged 60+ are taking home more than £59k for full-time work and 25% are earning over £40k. For part-time work the majority of those aged 60+ do not earn more than £20k per annum, and only the top 10th percent take home more than £24,000 per year.

The gender pay gap for over 60's tends to sit around 14%, with women being paid around 14% less on average than men. The highest point of the gender pay gap for this age bracket was in 1998 when it sat at 17.8%. It has seen a general decrease since 2011, although there was a small uptick in 2018 and 2019 where the gap went from 13% to 15%. Now, in 2020, it sits back at 13%.

Last updated: 08 Dec 2020

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