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What’s the Average Income in the UK?

Have you ever wondered about the average income in the UK? According to the Office for National Statistics, the median weekly pay for full-time employees in the UK was £611 in 2021. For some, that is more than enough. Others, however, tell a different story. 

So, the question remains — can an average Briton live comfortably with this salary? If you want to know the answer and find some other compelling stats along the way, continue reading this article.

But, before you begin, here are some fascinating facts about the average salary in the UK:

Top 10 Fascinating Facts

  • In 2021, full-time workers in the UK aged 3039 earned a median annual wage of £32,300.
  • The difference in pay for men and women aged 2229 amounted to £1,741 in 2021, favouring men.
  • 9% of all UK households earned a weekly income of £1,000 in 2020. 
  • The median household disposable income in the UK increased by 2.3% in 2020.
  • Across all jobs in the UK, the average weekly earnings in 2021 increased by 5.3% from 2020.
  • In 2021, the median hourly wage for full-time working Britons was £15.65/h. 
  • In 2021, Britons in the information and communication sector earned £41,552 on average.
  • Britons aged 75 and over earned an average retirement income of £302 a week in 2020. 
  • In FYE 2020, 23% of UK pensioners received income-related benefits. 
  • An average lower-class family in the UK (around three people per household) earned roughly £25,100 in 2019.

Average Salary in the UK — Demographics 

In 2021, the average annual income for full-time employees in the UK aged 18–21 was approximately £17,700

Similarly, 22–29-year-old Britons earned an average of almost £26,000  in the same time frame 

In 2021, full-time UK workers aged 30–39 had an average annual salary of £32,300

The table below shows further median annual earnings of full-time British workers in 2021, categorised by age:

Age group Average annual salary
40–49 £35,071
50–59 £32,405
60+ £27,857

Important note: The figures in the section above represent the average income of both genders combined. 

Although there’s a drastic difference in earnings between various age groups, some other issues should be addressed too — for example,  the gender wage gap in the UK. 

In 2021, the difference in earnings between men and women aged 18–21 was £1,387

According to the Statista report, women aged 18–21 earned £17,005 on average in 2021. The UK median salary for men in the same age group, on the other hand, was £18,392 in 2021.

The difference in pay for workers aged 22–29, expressed in gender wage gap terms, amounted to £1,741 in 2021

Women in the 22-29 age group earned an average of £25,115 a year in 2021. By contrast, men in the same age group earned an average income of £26,856 in 2021, amounting to a wage gap of £1,741 that year.

In 2021, the average annual salary for men and women aged 30–39 was £34,210 and £30,540, respectively

Take a look at the table below to see further information on how the average annual salary differs for full-time employees in 2021, depending on their age and gender:

Age group Average Annual Salary for Men Average Annual Salary for Women
40–49 £38,463 £31,679
50–59 £36,000 £28,811
60+ £30,944 £24,850

What is the Average Household Income in the UK?

29% of all households in the UK had a weekly income of £1,000 in 2020

Only 6% of UK households earned £2,000 or more a week in 2020

In March 2020, 45% of all UK households had an average income of below £600 a week

Still, remember that this is not an accurate representation of the average household’s disposable income, as these figures showcase the average income in the UK before taxes.

The average disposable income in the UK per household increased by 2.3% in 2020

In 2020, the median income after tax was £30,800 in the UK. In other words, that’s how much the average British household was left with after paying taxes for the financial year ending in March 2020. 

In 2020, the median household income in the UK increased by 1.6%

In the financial year ending (FYE) 2020, the average household income in the UK was £37,000.

What is the Average Income in the UK?

In 2020, the median wage in the UK for full-time employees was £15.15/h 

During the following year, Britons earned negligibly more, with the average UK salary remaining slightly below £16/h.

The median weekly pay for full-time employees was £586 in 2020 

The difference between average earnings in 2019 and 2020 was 0.1%

In 2020, pay fell in the private sector, and Britons earned an average of 0.6% less than in the previous year

In April 2020, pay in the private sector fell by 0.6%. That is a significant change compared to previous years (from 2016 onward), where private sector pay growth had consistently exceeded the public sector pay growth. The fall reflects the extent to which the coronavirus pandemic impacted the different job types in each sector. 

At the same time, Britons in the public sector earned 2.4% more on average than they did in 2019

The average annual earnings for employees in the public sector marked an increase of 2.4% from 2019 to 2020. 

Across all jobs in the UK, the average weekly earnings in 2021 increased by 5.3% from a year earlier

In 2021, the average pay increased for most UK workers, particularly for groups affected by the COVID-19. The most affected groups by the pandemic were younger employees, men, and those with the lowest-paid occupations.

From 2020 to 2021, the UK’s average number of paid hours grew by 1.5%

This increase followed a slight fall of paid hours of 1.4% between 2019 and 2020. The biggest cause for the increase in 2021 is the employees who lost hours in 2020. These include workers aged 16–17 years, those in elementary occupations, and those in the accommodation and food industries.

Average Annual Earnings for Full-Time Employees in the UK by Sector

Brits working in the Financial and Insurance Activities Sector earned an average yearly salary of £43,508 in 2021 

The Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply sector was the next highest paying sector in the UK, with a median annual salary of £43,430 for full-time workers.

In 2021, an average Briton earned £41,552 as a full-time employee in the Information and Communication Sector

Jobs in the Mining and Quarrying Sector were also among the highest-paying ones in 2021. Britons who worked in this industry sector earned a median annual salary of £37,567, followed by construction workers, who earned £34,892.

British workers in the Education Sector had an average annual salary of £33,910 in 2021

Check out further information about the 2021 median annual salary for full-time UK employees, classified by sector, in the table below:

Sector Average Earnings
Public Administration and Defence £33,447
Transportation and Storage £31,902
Manufacturing £31,676
Real Estate Activities £30,171
Human Health and Social Work £28,181
Administrative and Support Service Activities £27,068
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing £26,363
Wholesale and Retail Trade £26,244
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation £25,548
Accommodation and Food Service Activities £20,015

What is the Average Retirement Income in the UK?

In FYE 2020, the average housing income after housing costs of UK retirees under 75 years was £370

In 2020, Britons aged 75 and over received an average retirement income of £302 a week

In FYE 2020, 23% of pensioners in the UK received income-related benefits 

The average weekly income of pensioners in the UK was £331 in the financial year ending 2020. However, it’s worth adding that younger pensioners had higher incomes than older retirees.

Highest-Paid Occupations in the UK

A Statista report from 2021 shows that the bottom 10% of full-time workers in the UK earned an average of £18,300 that year

In 2021, the top 10% of all full-time workers of the UK population earned an average annual salary of roughly £60,900 

Additionally, chief executives and senior officials were the highest-paid occupations in the UK, with a median weekly pay of £1,684 in 2021. The next in line were marketing and sales directors, with an average weekly income of £1,442.

In 2021, the UK’s median gross weekly pay for full-time legal professionals was £1,408

The table below shows the highest-paid occupations in the UK and the median gross weekly pay for full-time workers:

Occupation Median Gross Weekly Pay
Information Technology and Telecommunications Directors £1,298
Advertising and Public Relations Directors £1,263
Financial Managers and Directors £1,235
Senior Professionals of Educational Establishments £1,140
Senior Police Officers £1,135
Medical Practitioners  £1,118
Train and Tram Drivers £1,112

What Is Considered Middle Class in the UK?

There are currently seven social classes in the UK. The Precariat is the lowest class, and the upper class represents a small percentage of Britons with the highest annual income per capita. 

The lower-income class refers to UK households with earnings below 75% of the average national income. 

In 2019, Britons who represent workers in the lower-income class earned less than £14,514 on average

The median lower-class household income (2-people household) was around £20.5 thousand in 2019

In 2019, the average lower-class family in the UK (around three people per household) earned roughly £25,100

In 2019, the average middle-class family in the UK (around three people per household) earned approximately £33,519

When it comes to the members of the middle class, it’s noteworthy that 58% of all Britons fell into this category in 2019. The middle class in the UK represents households with income between 75% and 200% of the median national income. Moreover, the UK’s middle-class members earned an average annual salary of £19,352 in 2019.

Wrap Up

These statistics about the average income in the UK show that wealth inequality is a real problem in the UK. While only 1% of all Britons earn more than enough to provide a comfortable living for their families, millions still live in poverty and struggle to bring food to the table. 

Luckily, the country is headed in the right direction, as Britons now earn more than they did in the previous years. But, what do you think — is the British government capable of making positive changes and supporting the lower class? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment and tell us your thoughts about this topic.