Average salaries can be a deciding factor in where to live, which roles to apply for, the career path you take, and the mortgage you can borrow!
In most cases, house price averages reflect local earnings, so you would expect properties in London to be some of the most expensive in the UK but linked with the highest average UK salaries.
Likewise, regions with lower annual salaries tend to have equally lower property prices – but there are exceptions to the rule. Some cities or towns where demand, amenities and quality of life attract investors and homebuyers from elsewhere may have a booming property market but lower average salaries.
As remote working becomes more prevalent, it is also increasingly common to have employees contracted to a business in one location working elsewhere – and evermore important to know what the average salary is in that region and how it aligns with your mortgage expectations!
In this guide, Think Plutus has collated a range of figures from the most recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) data to indicate average UK earnings by region, county, city and position.
How Is the Average UK Median Salary Calculated?
Averages are just that – an assessment of all the salaries within a location. These include part-time, full-time, contracted and variable-working roles, so you can take them with a pinch of salt.
There will always be higher skilled jobs that pay significantly more than the average or positions requiring a professional education or high-demand skill set that do not conform to trends.
However, to calculate the averages, the ONS prefers to measure salaries using a median average, which is the middle number if all incomes were to be listed in ascending order.
Some may consider this a less reliable calculation than the mean average, where all figures are added together and divided by the count – but the justification is that median averages are less impacted by unusual statistics that might skew the outcome.
It is worth understanding the difference between mean and median since the median will often be lower than the mean, as we have shown below:
|Statistic||Mean Average||Median Average|
|UK average salary||£31,447||£25,971|
|Average UK full-time salary||£38,131||£31,285|
All of the statistics quoted here are referenced from the ONS, so they demonstrate median averages.
What Is the Average Salary in the UK?
The below map reflects the latest updated national average salaries, as reported by the ONS:
UK Average Salary Map
Average Pay UK by Country
Salaries differ between UK countries, with an average of £25,971 in the UK compared with £23,996 in Wales. The UK country with the highest average salary is England.
|UK Country||Average Salary|
Areas of the UK With the Highest Average Salary
Unsurprisingly, people working in Central London earn the highest salaries and more than workers in comparable roles further out in Greater London. The City of London, Westminster and Tower Hamlets have the highest average income of all London districts.
There are exceptions, with the borough of Copeland in Cumbria boasting a greater average salary than you would expect elsewhere in the North West.
Towns and cities based around the London commuter belt, M4 and A1, have some of the highest average earnings outside of London, including Cambridge and the Thames Valley.
Below we have listed the towns and cities by region where annual salaries are higher than the UK average:
- East Midlands: Derby, Rugby, Birmingham and North Kesteven.
- North England: Leeds, Cheshire, Liverpool, York, Manchester, Fylde and the Ribble Valley.
- Scotland: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeenshire and Inverclyde.
- Wales: Monmouthshire, Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire.
Flintshire and Wrexham offer the greatest average salaries in North Wales.
National Average Salary UK by Region
Next, we will look at the UK regions to determine where you can earn the highest average salary.
|UK Region||Average Annual Salary|
|South East England||£28,200|
|North West England||£24,481|
|South West England||£24,157|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||£24,065|
|North East England||£23,414|
Average UK Salary by County
Within each region, some counties attract higher average salaries, primarily because of the demand for employees, the number of businesses, or the volume of higher-paying employers such as financial institutions.
Our next table shows average salaries by counties – we have focused on South and South East England to show the income in the regions closest to Think Plutus.
|UK County||Average Salary|
|Isle of Wight||£21,597|
UK Average Pay Comparisons Between Cities
For our next statistics, we examined the largest UK towns and cities to discover the places where the average salaries are highest – and how wages compare in the biggest metropolitan areas.
|UK City or Town||Average Salary|
Average Income UK Local to Think Plutus
To assist our local customers, the below table summarises average annual salaries based on the towns, cities and regions closest to our bases in London and East Sussex.
|City, Town or Area||Average Salary|
Median Wage UK by Employment Type
Average salaries naturally differ between types of roles, the nature of employment and the sector.
Public sector salaries are normally higher than in the private sector since wages are often increased across the board or move upward on a fixed salary scale each year.
Median salaries in the UK for full-time workers in the private sector were £30,973 compared to £32,743 in the public sector in 2020.
Your working hours will also impact your pay but affect your equivalent hourly wage, rather than solely being a question of a lower pro-rata salary due to being part-time.
For example, somebody working part-time earns an average of £10.39, compared to £15.14 for a full-time employee.
This statistic may be because employers are more likely to offer a higher salary to a full-time staff member than somebody who works part-time hours. It may also relate to a higher prevalence of part-time working students or apprentices who attract lower pay rates.
Average Yearly Salary UK by Career
Of course, the type of role you have, your qualifications and your professional expertise may be more important factors in your salary than your location.
Below we have collated some comparable facts and figures to show how your education affects your average earnings and which industries in the UK pay the highest annual average wage.
|Education Level||Average Weekly Earnings|
|GCSEs or equivalent||£381|
|A-levels or equivalent||£435|
|Degree or equivalent||£694|
The below sectors pay the highest average UK salaries, with median annual incomes extracted from the ONS 2020 report.
|Financial and insurance||£43,821|
|Electricity and gas||£42,450|
|Information and communication||£42,267|
|Professional, technical or scientific||£37,484|
Expert Advice on Demonstrating Mortgage Affordability With a UK Average Wage
We hope the tables in this guide help you assess how your salary stacks up against the averages in your area or city – you may even be interested in UK average salaries to decide where to relocate or the type of career to pursue!
As a private mortgage broker, Think Plutus knows that salary calculations and lender criteria can be challenging and are always here to help.
Average UK Salary FAQs
Below we answer queries about average UK salaries and how this impacts your mortgage application or maximum borrowing.
Why Does My Salary Affect My Mortgage Borrowing?
Mortgage lenders use your income (or average annual income if you are self-employed) to calculate whether you can afford your mortgage repayments.
An affordability assessment involves looking at your income, outgoings and pre-existing debts to determine whether the amount left will be sufficient to repay your mortgage without causing financial difficulties.
Lenders typically stress-test your affordability by applying a raised interest rate, normally 5% or 5.5%, although sometimes higher, and calculating whether you would still be able to keep up with the repayments if rates were to rise.
How Much Can I Borrow on a Mortgage Based on My Income?
The amount a mortgage lender will offer depends on several variables, such as the available deposit, your income, your credit record and the nature of your employment.
Standard calculations vary from three times your annual income up to five times your salary or even higher in some circumstances. A single mortgage applicant is normally assessed on around 4 to 4.5 times their earnings.
This calculation considers both yearly incomes if you apply for a joint mortgage.
Should the lender not be able to offer you the mortgage you are applying for, they might either reject the application or offer you a lower amount.
What Is the Average Income in the UK Needed to Buy a House?
The average UK income nationwide is £25,971, although, as we have seen, this figure can fluctuate depending on your employment and location.
On this basis, you may be able to borrow in the region of £103,000 to £117,000, although that figure can potentially double if you are applying for a mortgage with a partner and both earn the UK average salary.
What Can I Do If I Have Been Turned Down for a Mortgage Due to My Salary?
There are hundreds of UK mortgage lenders, all with different lending policies, and you may be able to take simple steps to improve your mortgage prospects, such as extending the loan term or offering a higher deposit.
It may also be wise to apply to a different lender who will view your application favourably, offer a higher salary multiple, or take a case-by-case approach to applicants with other adverse circumstances, such as a low credit score.
We recommend contacting Think Plutus for independent advice from a whole-of-market mortgage broker to decide on the best steps to take.