What Is a Good Salary in the UK? [+Average Salaries]

How much will you earn in the UK? It’s a country of immigrants, millions of people of foreign origin live in the UK, and thousands of people come to study or build a career. But will your salary expectations satisfied in the second largest European country?

What is a good salary in the UK? A net monthly salary between £2,500 and £3,000 is considered a decent salary. This corresponds to the gross annual salary above £40,000. Everyone getting between £3,300 and £4,000 gross per month is a good earner.

The British capital London is a truly global city and magnet from expats from all over the world. Read this article to learn what to expect in terms of costs and salaries when moving to the United Kingdom in 2022.

What Is a Good Salary in the UK in 2022?

In the UK, a monthly net income between £2,000 and £3,000 is considered to be a good salary. With that income, you can afford a decent life in a large British city, including renting a two-bedroom apartment, eating out, and spending weekends away.

Furthermore, most Brits feel that a salary of £2,000 a month after tax is the minimum income for a comfortable lifestyle (for a single person).

A gross salary of around £40,000 a year is what you need to live a comfortable yet not extravagant lifestyle in the UK.

A couple with children both earning £40,000 will be having a very good life.

With a monthly net salary of £2,500 or £40,000 gross you are making enough money to finance a small flat or a car, go on holidays, and eat out regularly. At this point, you will start to enjoy life more.

With a monthly net salary of £3,000 or £48,000 gross, one can finance a better apartment, you will have a very nice lifestyle, go on the holidays, or have a very decent car (Mercedes, BMW, etc.)

If you want to buy a house in the UK and don’t have wealthy parents, you will need to earn significantly more than £3,000 or have a partner with a good salary.

In London, a very good salary is around £70,000, but in other places, it’s £50,000.

Moving to the UK? Here are top reasons why you shouldn’t come to the UK.

What is the minimum good salary in the UK?

£35,000 is the minimum salary in the North, and £60,000 is considered to be the minimum in London. Ideally, you want to earn £45,000.

Whereas £30,000 is considered a decent salary in the UK overall.

Location is by far the biggest influencer on your salary in the UK. Employees working in London earn significantly more.

What will your life look like with a good level of monthly income (£3,000 net) in London, UK. £3,000 net per month averages in an annual gross salary of about £50,000. It’s a realistic salary for most academics with a few years of experience.

  1. Housing: You can rent 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre (£1,500), utilities will cost you another £200 and £35 for the internet.
  2. Groceries and food: £500 – £600 – you can afford more expensive organic food.
  3. Disposal income per month: £665 for closing and shoes, personal items, eating out, entertainment, weekend trips, yearly holidays, etc.
  4. You can afford a more expensive hobby.
  5. You can go on holidays more often – 2 or 3 holidays a year, including a more long-haul destination or a week long winter sport vacation.
  6. You also can spend many weekends away.
  7. Saving: you will be able to put away at least few hundred pounds.

Before you accept a job offer in the UK, it’s essential to know current cost of living. Read it in our guide.

Gross vs Net

Net salary is an amount without income taxes and deductions for social security contributions. Overall, taxes and social security contributions are around 25% of the employee’s gross salary in the UK.

The most common income tax rate is 20%, and social security employees pay between 0% and 12% of their salary, depending on the level and class of income. Employers also pay a share.

British social insurance includes unemployment, sickness, disability, occupational accidents, occupational diseases, maternity, widowhood, and pensions.

In the UK, the so-called “pay as you earn” (PAYE) system applies when it comes to income taxes. The tax-free amount is £12,570 per year. Generally, there are three income tax rates (slightly different rates apply in Scotland):

  1. 20% – for annual salary between £12,570 and £50,270
  2. 40% – for annual salary between £50,271 and £150,000
  3. 45% – for annual salary above £150,001

Yet, the majority of people pay 20% in income tax and 12% in social security. This will leave someone with a gross annual income of £40,000 with £30,864 after taxes or £2,572 monthly.

You have paid £5,484 in income tax and £3,651 in National Insurance.

With that salary, you can live a good middle-income life enjoying your weekends and traveling short distances for getaways.

Also, check out our comparison on living in the UK vs Germany. Salaries are higher in Germany.

Salaries in the UK

In the UK, an average employee earns between £30,000 – £35,000 per year.

The median monthly pay of the UK employees in October 2021 was £2,004 gross per month or £24,048 annually. At the same time, the average salary in the UK was £38,600 in 2020, according to the ONS.

Someone with an annual salary of more than £70,000 is considered to be rich. Only 5% of all UK earners have this income and above.

Facts about UK salaries:

  1. In 2021, the average UK salary was £25,971 an increase of 0.3% compared to 2020
  2. The average full-time salary in the UK fell 0.6% to £31,285 in 2021
  3. Part-time workers in the UK earn on average £11,310 a year
  4. Full-time male employees get 18,05% more than their female counterparts, averaging £5,109 each year
  5. Average male CEOs make £24,999 more than female CEOs each year
  6. Pub owners and managers saw the biggest percentage decrease in earnings in 2021 at 34.2%
  7. The highest earners are under age between 40 and 49, with income averaging £35,757

Compensation in the UK varies depending on job skills and positions and can range vastly. 

Also, according to the latest OECD data, salaries in the UK are above the European average and rank at number 15 out of 36 countries.

Average salaries in London:

Cashier£15,483
Copywriter£34,113
Financial analyst£40,042
Graphic designer£26,738
Mobile developer£41,431
Product manager£46,063
Receptionist£17,553
Software engineer£42,925
Teacher£25,539
Web developer£32,664

In other British cities, numbers are lower. Read about the salaries in Manchester in this article.

Minimum wage in the UK

In 2022, the minimum wage in the UK is £9,50 per hour for someone above age 23.

Average salary in the UK

According to the ONS, the average gross salary in the UK in 2021 was £25,971 or £21,324 after-tax for a single person. This translates to the £1,777 net monthly wage.

However, in April 2020, the average earnings for full-time employees were around £31,461 a year, while part-time workers in the UK earn an average of £11,310. Another data confirms that the average salary in the country in 2021 is £29,600.

Hence, if you earn over £31,000 in the UK, you shouldn’t feel underpaid.

The average salary in the UK in 2022 for most popular job positions:

  1. IT Technician – £31,731
  2. Administrator – £25,050
  3. Construction Project Manager – £40,549
  4. Business/Corporate Project Manager – £58,478
  5. Police Officer – £26,605
  6. Education Support Assistant – £16,700
  7. Business Development Manager – £52,500
  8. Labourer – £28,237
  9. Receptionist – £17,808
  10. Sales Executive – £26,302
  11. Account Manager – £52,500
  12. Quantity Surveyor – £42,511
  13. Care Assistant – £18,255
  14. Chef – £21,282
  15. Managers – £58,862 (although this varies widely depending on your field)
  16. Nurse – £32,338
  17. Electrician – £31,277
  18. Doctor – £41,494
  19. Lawyer – £63,771
  20. Writer – £33,887
  21. Teacher – £39,388
  22. Business Analyst – £49,079
  23. Finance Professionals – £42,578
  24. Customer Service Advisor – £21,494
  25. Engineer – £43,628

Is 130,000 GBP a good salary in the UK if you are coming from the US?

130,000 GBP per year is a lot of money in the UK. With an income of 130,000 GBP, an employee belongs to the top 1% of UK earners.

With a gross annual salary of 130,000 GBP, as a single, you will get about 78,675 GBP after tax. Every month, you will receive 6,556 GBP. It’s a good income for a single person.

The annual salary of 130,000 GBP could be seen among pilots, surgeons, bankers, or top CEOs.

If we compare it to the normal couple earning 40,000 GBP annually, they receive a net wage of 30,582 GBP.

Hence, a couple will have about 5,097 GBP in disposable income every month. Meaning as a single with an income of 130,000 GBP, you are far above ordinary people.

However, if you are the sole earner in the family, don’t expect to be that much better off than a working couple.

It’s not uncommon for a software engineer in a top US location such as San Francisco to earn around 150,000-160,000 USD (112,347 – 119,837 GBP).

Whereas, for the same position you can get about 105,000 GBP in London. So, we don’t see a very significant difference there.

In fact, you might even get a better deal in the UK. Rents are lower, and so is health insurance.

However, you need to consider whether you are liable for US taxes (US citizen?) and how much your total tax burden will be. In the UK, employees with an income of 130,000 GBP fall into the 40% income tax bracket.

Where life is better? The UK or the US?

Is £50,000 a good income in the UK?

In the UK, the salary of £50,000 is above the average. It’s a very decent salary in the UK.

The average total salary for a family with two working adults is £40,000. £50,000 gross will bring you 67% above average income. Hence, you are well off by at least 67% more.

Furthermore, an employee doesn’t pay high taxes on such income. They are still in the 20% bracket for income taxes.

The income tax and National Insurance you will pay on this salary will be about £13,000 per year – leaving you with around £37,000.

If you are considering buying real estate, the mortgage repayments could easily take up well over £10,000 annually.

Highest paying jobs in the UK

Here is the list of top earners in the UK:

JobAverage annual salary
CEOs£81,102
Marketing and sales directors£69,779
Legal professionals£69,514
Train and tram drivers£59,189
Advertising and public relations directors£58,948
Senior police officers£58,734
Senior professionals of educational establishments£58,268
Financial managers and directors£58,028
Medical practitioners£56,869
Senior officers in protective services£56,135

Where the best fields to work in the UK are:

  • Accounting, banking and finance
  • Consulting and management
  • Healthcare
  • IT
  • Marketing, advertising
  • Sales
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Recruitment and HR

The service sector dominates the UK economy. Banking, insurance, and business services are all key drivers of the country’s growth. 

Other important British industries include metals, chemicals, aerospace, shipbuilding, motor vehicles, food processing, textiles and clothing, design, the arts, and electronic and communications equipment.

Apart from that, expats and foreign workers can find the most job offerings in areas with skill shortages:

  1. Business services – analysts, market researchers, HR officers
  2. Construction – surveyors, planners and project managers
  3. Education – primary and secondary school teachers (particularly maths teachers)
  4. Engineering – electrical, mechanical and chemical engineers, civil engineers and product and process engineers
  5. Healthcare – nurses, medical radiographers and pediatricians
  6. Hospitality – baristas, chefs
  7. IT – cyber security analysts, SEO marketers, software developers and systems engineers
  8. Social care – counselors, social workers

Occupations in demand include:

  • Bank clerk
  • Insurance clerk
  • Business economist
  • Social worker
  • Nurse
  • Doctor / Physician
  • Dentist

Lowest paying jobs

Yet, some jobs are extremely underpaid in the UK, among others:

JobMedian annual salary
Playworkers£14,345
Beauticians and related occupations£15,210
Hairdressers and related services£15,357
Bar staff£15,896
Waiters£16,146
Leisure and theme park attendants£16,194
Kitchen and catering assistants£16,254
Smiths and forge workers£16,519
Educational support assistants£16,721
Launderers, dry cleaners and pressers£17,295

Top paying industries

The industry has a significant influence on your salary level in the UK. The most important sectors in the UK are:

  • Banks
  • Insurance
  • Commerce
  • Gastronomy
  • Tourism
  • Public administration
  • Information Technology

Another article you might like: salaries in Germany vs US.

Average expenses in the UK with average salary

In short, about the cost of living in the UK

  1. Family of four estimated monthly costs: £3,564
  2. Single person estimated monthly costs: £2,014
  3. Cost of living in the UK is more expensive than in 64% of countries in Western Europe (6 out of 14)
  4. Cost of living in the UK is more expensive than in 83% of countries in the World (12 out of 63)

You will spend significantly more money in London (at least 20%). In 2020, London was ranked among the 10 most expensive cities to live in Europe. Cheaper locations include cities in northern England. 

  • In London, the rent of a one-bedroom apartment will be £1,662
  • Meal for 2 – £60
  • Transportation (monthly pass) – £158

Moving to the UK? Here are top reasons why you shouldn’t come to the UK.

Housing

No surprise that rent is our biggest expense when moving abroad. It contributes to at least 30% of our monthly budget.

In London, the closer you are to the center, the higher the rent.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment close to the city center in London would cost you about £1,600 a month, but you can choose one outside the city center for about £1,100.

On the other hand, renting a family home costs about £3,100 a month on average in the city center and about £1,900 for one outside the center.

However, rents in other English cities are lower. For instance, in Manchester, you will get a one-bedroom apartment for about £700 a month.

Housing in LondonAverage monthly cost
One-bedroom apartment (city center)£1,662
One-bedroom apartment (outside of city center)£1,272
Three bedroom apartment (city center)£3,188
Three bedroom apartment (outside of city center)£2,081
Internet£32
Utilities (gas, electric, and water for an 85m2 apartment)£171
Council Tax£80
Source: wise.com

Consequently, more and more people are unable to afford to live in London. Hence they are moving to cities nearby. This fact has driven prices high in those cities as well. Thus, the cost of living in any town near London has skyrocketed.

Overall, the average rent for a small studio apartment in the UK is £708.

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Public transport

Public transport prices are high in the UK. A London’s monthly pass for subway+train can cost you £360 per month.

Cost of living in London

The average cost of living in London is about £2,892 per person per month. The Price Index for the city of London is 222. This score indicates that food, rent, and other necessities are more than twice as expensive in London than in the average global city. 

The total cost of living in London is about 38,5% higher than the Central European average.

People with children need more money. The cost of living for a couple with a one-year-old is around £49,714 annually or £4,142 monthly. Childcare is expensive in London.

Example of cost of living in London:

  • Rent: £2,219 per month (Average across London for the beginning of 2021)
  • Basic public transport monthly ticket: £146
  • Taxi fare for a 5-mile journey on a business day: £26
  • Dinner for two in a pub: £37
  • 2 theatre tickets: £171
  • 1 cocktail in a club: £11
  • 1 pint of beer: £5,20

See more on cost of living in the UK in this article.

Taxes in the UK

In the UK you will pay significantly fewer taxes than in many other European countries – just about 24,90%. With an average annual salary of £35,000, you will take home £27,464. Hence, you just paid around 22% in taxes. 

Income tax – between 20% and 45% (20% is most common). You can see rates for 2021 – 2022 below. 

England/Wales/Northern Ireland tax bandTaxable incomeIncome tax rate
Personal allowanceUp to £12,5700%
Basic rate£12,571–50,27020%
Higher rate£50,271–150,00040%
Additional rate£150,001+45%

Social security – employee pays 12% from the salary; 2% for income above £4,189 per month. At the same time, the employer contributes another 13,8% (15,05% from April 2022) to the national insurance. Expats can sign for a private health insurance, which will save them money.

For example, if you earn £4,000 a month or £48,000 a year, you pay:

  • nothing on the first £9,568
  • 12% on the next £38,432
  • total in social security £4,611
Your annual salaryClass 1 National Insurance rate
Less £9,5680%
£9,568 – £50,27012%
Over £50,2702%

Alternative to the national insurance in the UK

If you want to save money on public health insurance and still have full access to the medical services, check out expat insurance from William Russell.

Its price isn’t bounded to your income, and you pay a fixed price instead (starting at $88 per month). William Russell is a UK-based yet international insurance provider covering members in 160 countries around the world.

Read more about healthcare in the UK in this article.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in the UK?

How much money you need to live comfortably comes to the cost of living. Generally, you can live comfortably on between £2,000 – £3,000, depending on the location and your personal situation.

London is the most expensive city, hence, count with higher expenses.

With such income, you will cover all things related to accommodation, general expenses, and leisure activities.

Recommended products and services in Germany:

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Anna

Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

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