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Average UK Salary by Area

Discover the average UK salary in your region, city or county, with insights into how that affects your mortgage borrowing prospects.

29 December 2023

average UK salary

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 salary 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 Median Average UK 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:

StatisticMean Average Median Average
UK average salary£35,404£29,669
Average UK full-time salary£42,210£34,963

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 UK Salary by Country

Salaries differ between UK countries, with an average of £29,669 in the UK compared with £27,852 in Wales. The UK country with the highest average salary is England.

UK CountryAverage Salary
United Kingdom£29,669
England£29,919
Scotland£29,842
Wales£27,852

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. Westminster, Wandsworth and Kensington and Chelsea have the highest average income of all London districts.

There are pockets outside of London with higher than average salaries, including Brentwood, Essex, and East Hertfordshire.

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 some of the towns and cities, excluding London, by region where annual salaries are higher than the UK average:

  • North West: Warrington, Cheshire, Manchester and Chorley.
  • East Midlands: Rutland, South Derbyshire, Charnwood and Harborough.
  • West Midlands: South Staffordshire, Stafford, Tamworth, North Warwickshire, Rugby, Warwick, Solihull and Bromsgrove.
  • East England: Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Southend, Thurrock, Cambridge, South Cambridgeshire, Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Colchester, Epping Forest, North and East Hertfordshire, St Albans, Watford and West Suffolk.
  • South East England: Bracknell, Buckinghamshire, Medway, Milton Keynes, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Basingstoke, East Hampshire, Eastleigh, Dartford, Dover, Maidstone, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Oxford, South Oxfordshire, Epsom, Reigate, Woking, Horsham, Mid Sussex and Worthing.
  • South West England: Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon, Wiltshire, Stroud, Cheltenham, and the Forest of Dean.
  • Wales: Isle of Anglesey, Monmouthshire and Cardiff.
  • Scotland: Aberdeen, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, North Ayrshire, North and South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, Stirling and West Lothian.

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 RegionAverage Annual Salary
South East England£31,800
South West England£28,748
North West England£28,429
West Midlands£28,352
East Midlands£27,782
Yorkshire and The Humber£27,648
North East England£26,959

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 CountyAverage Salary
Surrey£36,762
Greater London£36,184
Berkshire£34,706
Oxfordshire£33,823
Buckinghamshire£32,934
Hampshire£32,676
Kent£30,426
West Sussex£30,021
Wealden£27,817
East Sussex£26,842
Isle of Wight£25,172
Rother£24,796

UK Average Salary 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 TownAverage Salary
London£36,184
Edinburgh£32,240
Bristol£30,867
Cardiff£30,230
Reading£29,927
Coventry£29,476
Brighton£29,144
Leeds£29,000
Glasgow£28,836
Portsmouth£28,573
Southampton£28,539
Derby£28,442
Sheffield£28,373
Liverpool£28,289
Newcastle£28,044
Manchester£27,217
Birmingham£27,175
Plymouth£26,820
Bradford£26,216
Hull£25,396
Nottingham£23,377

Average UK Income 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 AreaAverage Salary
Inner London£38,592
Surrey£36,762
Tunbridge Wells£32,674
Tonbridge£30,972
Kent£30,426
Maidstone£30,336
Crawley£29,348
Ashford£29,344
Brighton£29,144
Eastbourne£29,060
Wealden£27,817
Thanet£27,104
East Sussex£26,842
Hastings£25,897
Rother£24,796

Median UK Wage 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 £34,217 compared to £36,708 in the public sector in 2023.

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 in the private sector earns an average of £11.34, compared to £16.45 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 in the 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 from the most recent 2022 report to show how your education affects your average earnings and which industries in the UK pay the highest annual average wage.

Education LevelAverage Weekly Earnings
No qualifications£304
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.

IndustryAverage Salary
Financial and insurance£43,821
Electricity and gas£42,450
Mining£42,386
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.

If you have been turned down for the mortgage you require based on your salary or want to find a suitable lender who will approve the loan you need; please get in touch at your convenience.

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 6% or 7%, 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 £29,669, 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 £118,000 to £134,000, 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.

Contact Think Plutus today for independent advice from a whole-of-market mortgage broker to decide on the best steps to take.

Written By

Dave Relfe MCSI DipPFS CertSMP

Dave is the principal mortgage and protection adviser at Think Plutus. He has more than 15 years of experience in financial services and holds the Diploma in Financial Planning from PFS, Investment Advice Diploma from CISI, and the Certificate in Advanced Mortgage Advice from the Society of Mortgage Professionals. He has devised the unique Think Plutus approach that has helped many clients, from first-time buyers to buy-to-let investors and property developers, to people looking to remortgage or release equity from their property. Connect with Dave on LinkedIn.

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