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Private investigator Average UK Salary & Prospects

Private investigators (PIs) carry out enquiries for their clients to find out information and check facts.

  • Write reports or case summaries to document investigations.  
  • Conduct private investigations on a paid basis.  
  • Search computer databases, credit reports, public records, tax or legal filings, or other resources to locate persons or to compile information for investigations.  
  • Conduct personal background investigations, such as pre-employment checks, to obtain
Read more about Private investigator

Private investigators typically work around 46 to 48 hours per week.

As a Private investigator you will typically work evenings / weekends / bank holidays.

This occupation tends to be:

  • Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and
  • Read more about Private investigator
    * from ONETonline
    Average salary
    27,545 GBP *
    per year
    * data taken from the Office of National Statistics (
    Average salary for Private investigator

    Men make 11% more than Women
    35% of Private investigators are men
    • 29,381 GBP
    • 26,257 GBP
    Average salary for part-time Private investigator
    Average salary for full-time Private investigator

    • 13,601 GBP
    • 13,475 GBP
    • 14,468 GBP
    • 27,545 GBP
    • 26,257 GBP
    • 29,381 GBP
    Pay over time for Private investigator

    Pay for this role has increased over time
    • 23,925 GBP
    • 24,568 GBP
    • 24,611 GBP
    • 25,792 GBP
    • 26,777 GBP
    • 27,545 GBP

    Future outlook for Private investigators

    Balanced outlook
    188 000+ jobs available
    Balanced outlook
    3% yearly wage growth (on average)

    Private investigator - Your future job?

    Which qualifications do I need?

    Find out what you need to know in order to become a Private investigator and the highest average level of education for people in this role.

    In terms of people already doing this job:

    • 38% of people in this role have a Bachelor's degree
    • 25% of people in this role have GCSEs or equivalent
    • 16% of people in this role have a Diploma of Higher Education or equivalent

    You could do the Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Private Investigation.

    Get the right qualification to begin your journey to becoming a Private investigator

    Police & Military

    What soft skills do I need?

    Rise above the competition by brushing up on the 5 most important soft skills you need to become a Private investigator.
    Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times
    Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively
    Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
    Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents
    Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions

    What technical skills do I need?

    Technical skills are programmes, softwares and things you need to know in order to be a successful Private investigator. Check that you know:
    Electronic mail software Email software; Microsoft Outlook
    Graphics or photo imaging software Computer imaging software
    Office suite software Microsoft Office
    Spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel
    Word processing software Microsoft Word
    Improve your skills today

    Police & Military

    Things to highlight for your Private investigator interview

    Integrity Job requires being honest and ethical. Attention to Detail Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. Dependability Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. Independence Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. Initiative Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

    Not sure if you are in the right job?

    Take our career change quiz