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Average UK Salary | 2021 & 2022

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What is the average UK salary in 2021? How much should I expect to earn in 2022? Find out the average UK salary 2022 in our latest update.

Table of contents

  1. Average UK Salary in 2021/2022
  2. Top 10 Best Paid Jobs in 2021
  3. UK Average Salary 2021 and the Gender Pay Gap
  4. UK Average Earnings and Gender Pay Gap in 2021/2022 by Age:


1. What is the Average UK Salary in 2021/2022?

According to the ONS, in 2021 the average UK salary was £38,131 for a full-time role and £13,549 for a part-time role. This is a slight decrease from the average UK salary in 2020, which placed the average UK wage for a full-time role at £38,552 and part-time at £13,819.

The median salary for full-time work was also lower year on year, £31,285 for full-time work and £11,310 for part-time work. This compares to in £31,487 and £11,240 respectively in 2020.

The decrease partly reflects the fact that annual pay for the year ending April 2021 will be more affected by COVID-19 as only two months of pay for the year ending April 2020 would have been affected.

Note that the median salary in the UK is a better number to compare your wage against, as it is less susceptible 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 £62,645 per year. 

How has COVID-19 affected the Average UK Earnings data?

The ONS cautions that interpreting average earnings data is difficult in the current climate. One of the complexities is that compositional and base effects are likely to affect the growth rates. This is because the data for April 2020 was affected by COVID-19, in terms of pay and hours worked. In addition, there is also disruption to the collection of data from businesses.

Therefore, comparisons with 2020 data need to be treated with caution. Readers are thus encouraged to look at long-term trends instead of focusing on year on year changes.

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work

2. Average UK Salary 2021 - Top 10 Best Paid Jobs

According to the ONS figures, Chief Executives once again take home the highest pay in 2021. Chief exeuctives earn an average salary of £111,020 and a median salary of £73,805 per annum. 

Legal professionals came in second, earning an average salary of £85,821 and a median salary of £69,514.

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

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3. UK Average Salary 2021 and the Gender Pay Gap 

Average Full-Time Salary

£38,131

Average Part-Time Salary

£13,549

Gender Pay Gap

15.4%

The gender pay gap continues to trend downward

The good news is that the gender pay gap (defined as the difference between men's and women's hourly earnings as a percentage of men's earnings) in the UK continues its downward trend. Over the last quarter of the century, it has fallen from 28% to 16% for all employees, and 18% to 8% for full-time employees.

UK gender pay gap chart

Given that data for 2020 was affected by COVID-19, the ONS recommends that the focus should be on the longer-term trend.

For all employees, the gender pay gap climbed up to 15.4% in 2021 from 14.9% in 2020.  However, this is still down from 17.4% in 2019 before the pandemic.

Similarly, the gender pay gap for full-time employees stood at 7.9% in 2021, an increase from 7.0% in 2020. This is still below the 9.0% posted in 2019.

Hence, we can see that the gender pay gap for all and full-time employees is continuing on the downward trend.

women

Why is the gender pay gap so much higher for all employees than for full-time employees?

The gender pay gap for full-time employees looks quite low: 7.9% - but the pay gap for all employees seems very high: 15.4%. 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 median earnings of £10.64 per hour, whereas full-time workers take home around £15.59. 

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 8% less than men.

Thus when you calculate how much the average woman 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 15.4% difference. For more on this, Jonathan Athow has an excellent article explaining the calculation.

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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How did the furloughs of employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) affect the gender pay gap?

According to ONS figures, around 3.7 million employees were furloughed in 2021 compared to 8.8 million in 2020. Approximately 50% of the furloughed employees received reduced pay.

In 2021, a slightly higher percentage of women than men were furloughed with reduced pay. The opposite was true in 2020. This partially explains the slightly higher gender pay gap in 2021.

Is the gender pay gap improving?

The short answer is yes, and it has been improving for nearly a quarter of century. Over the last decade, the gender pay gap has fallen by around 25% among both full-time employees and 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. There are fewer women than men moving into higher-paid managerial roles after the age of 39, at which point salary in these positions increases. 

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

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4. UK Average Earnings and Gender Pay Gap in 2021/2022 - by Age

Average UK Salary: 18-21 year olds

Average full-time salary: 

£19,248

Average part-time salary:

£6,981

Gender pay gap

-1.9%

Those aged 18-21 have seen their wages increase year on year by 3.8%. The average earnings for those aged between 18 and 21 is just above £19,200 with £18,010 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 £25,671. 

Part-time wages has seen a slight decrease, falling 1.2% year on year. The average part-time salary now sits at £6,981 and the median salary at £6,255. At the top end of the spectrum, just 10% of 18-21 year olds working part-time earn more than £13,299 per annum.

The gender pay gap has dropped below 0 to negative 1.9%,´which means that women aged 18 to 21 are earning more than men in this age group. This compares to 1.0% in 2020.

Overall, the gender pay gap for 18-21 year olds has seen a significant decline for the past decade, declining from 8.6% in 2012 and posting a sub-zero figure for the first time in 2021.

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Average UK Salary: 22-29 year olds

Average full-time salary: 

£29,549

Average part-time salary:

£11,259

Gender pay gap

8.3%

The average earnings for those aged 22 to 29 has increased slightly by 1.6% year on year and stands at £29,549 in 2021. Meanwhile, the median full-time wage (or middle salary) for those aged 22 to 29 is £26,019.

At the upper end of the scale just 10% of those aged between 22 and 29 are earning over £42,000 per year and 30% are earning over £31,000.

Of all the age brackets, the 22 - 29 year olds appears to be the only one that displays a growing gender gap. This age bracket posted a gender pay gap of 2.1% in 2012 which has risen 4 times to 8.3% 10 years later. The gender pay gap in this age bracket averages 5.2% over the last decade.

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young employees

Average UK Salary: 30-39 year olds

Average full-time salary: 

£37,954

Average part-time salary:

£14,822

Gender pay gap

9.7%

For those aged 30-39 the average salary for full-time work posted a slight decrease, falling 1.2% in 2021 vs. 2020.

On the top end of the full-time scale, just 10% of those aged 30-39 earn over £59k per year, whereas 30% earn more than £41k per annum.

The gender pay gap for those aged between 30 and 39 has remained relatively unchanged in the past 10 years. It was estimated at 10.5% in 2012 and is only slightly lower at 9.7% 10 years later in 2021. In the past decade, the gender pay gap for 30 to 39 year olds has averaged 10%.

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Average UK Salary: 40-49 year olds

Average full-time salary: 

£43,230

Average part-time salary:

£15,361

Gender pay gap

18.6%

The average salary for those aged between 40 and 49 has seen a 2.1% decrease on 2020 and now sits at £43,230 for full-time workThe median wage for those aged between 40 and 49 (£35,757 for 2021) has decreased marginally by 0.2%.

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 18.6%, which is considerably higher than those aged 39 and below, however the pay gap has been decreasing steadily since 2013 when the gap was 24%.

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older workers

Average UK Salary: 50-59 year olds

Average full-time salary: 

£41,226

Average part-time salary:

£14,348

Gender pay gap

18.5%

Those aged between 50 and 59 have seen part-time wages decrease by 2.3% in 2021 for the average wage and increased very slightly by 0.4% for the median wage (£12,000).

There is fairly large 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.

At the top end of the scale,  just 10% earn more than £66k while only 30% of those aged 50-59 earn above £43k per year.

There is also quite a discrepancy between male and female earnings, with 10% of men aged 50-59 earning more than £73k per year, as opposed to the top 10th percentile of female earners who take home £56k per year. 

The gender pay gap for this age bracket is high, sitting at 18.5% across all employees, although this is a significant departure a decade ago when the gap was 27.1% in 2012. The gender pay gap for 50 to 59 year olds continues to exhibit a gradual downward trend.

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Average UK Salary: ages 60+

Average full-time salary: 

£35,596

Average part-time salary:

£12,982

Gender pay gap

13%

Full-time wages for those aged 60+ has decreased by 1.2% year on year, whereas part-time wages has decreased by 0.6%. The average salary for a full-time employee now sits at £35k (vs. a median salary of £29k) and part-time workers can expect to take home £13k per annum (vs. a median salary of £11k).

At the top end of the scale, 10% of those aged 60+ are taking home more than £57k 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 £23,000 per year.

The gender pay gap for over 60's is 18.6%, with women being paid around 19% less on average than men. It has fluctuated around 23% since 2012, and there was a small uptick in 2018 where the gap went from 22% to 25%. However, for the last 3 years the gender pay gap for those aged 60 and above has fallen and it now sits at 19% in 2021.

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Last updated: 08 Mar 2022

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