Average UK Salary by Area

Average salaries in the UK vary widely between different areas and regions. With London and the South East having some of the highest average wages in the country, while more rural areas tend to fall below the national median.

Understanding these regional variations is useful for gauging salary expectations and general affordability when moving jobs or buying a home in different parts of Britain. This article will break down the data to reveal where UK salaries currently stand on a national, regional, county and city level.

Calculating Median Average UK Salaries

When looking at average salaries on a national scale, there are two main measures used:

  • Mean average – The total wages of a population divided by the number of people. Can be skewed by very high or low earners.
  • Median average – The middle value of all salaries, with equal numbers above and below this figure. Seen as more representative.

The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) calculates the median average from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. This provides a reliable view of the middle salary across full and part-time employees.

In April 2023, the ONS put the UK’s full-time median annual salary at £34,963 – or £672 per week. While useful for comparison, averages still mask variations in income distribution.

What is the Average Salary in the UK?

As of April 2023, the median gross annual salary for full-time employees in the UK stood at £34,963 ([£672] weekly). This represents a 6.8% increase from the previous year (£32,834).

The median for all employee types – including part-time and self-employed – currently stands slightly lower at £31,447 per annum.

However, people living and working in London earn around 25% more than the UK average.

Employment TypeAnnual Salary
All Employee Types£31,447

Average UK Salary by Country

Average salaries within the UK also vary significantly between its four constituent countries:

CountryAverage Salary
Northern Ireland£29,615

England has the highest incomes, while salaries in Wales and Northern Ireland trail behind the UK median pay.

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UK Areas With the Highest Average Salaries

The areas of the UK with the highest salaries are primarily concentrated in London and the South East. However, there are also pockets outside of London that boast higher than average pay.

London Boroughs

Working in Central London results in the highest average salaries countrywide. Specific boroughs include:

  • Westminster – The heart of central London housing much of the government and high end companies. Average salary of £42,500.
  • Wandsworth – An affluent inner London borough. Average salary of £39,000.
  • Kensington and Chelsea – An elite residential area with average earnings of £38,000.

Property prices in these prime central London boroughs exceed £1,900 per square foot. The high salaries are required to afford the expensive housing.

Home Counties

Areas bordering London also benefit from the ripple effect of higher pay. For example:

  • Surrey – Affluent commuter towns help push the average salary to £36,762.
  • Berkshire – Contains wealthy commuter hubs like Slough. Average earnings of £34,706.

Proximity to London and excellent transport links contribute to elevated salaries despite being outside the city boundaries.

Major Cities

Looking wider across Britain, major cities also offer generous pay packets including:

  • Aberdeen – Hub of the Scottish oil industry with high demand for skilled labor. Average salaries of £34,322.
  • Edinburgh – Scotland’s capital and second highest average regional wage at £31,344.
  • Bristol – Major financial and tech hub drives salaries higher to £30,925.

So while London leads the way on British pay rates, carefully selected major cities and home county commuter zones offer financial upside too.

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National Average Salary UK by Region

Average salaries across UK regions in 2023:

UK RegionAverage Salary
South East England£31,800
South West England£28,748
North West England£28,429
West Midlands£28,352

The South East has the highest regional salaries, followed by the South West. The North East of England has the lowest average pay at £26,959 per annum.

Average UK Salary by County

Drilling down further – salaries by county:

CountyAverage Annual Salary
Greater London£36,184
Isle of Wight£25,172

Surrey residents earn the most outside of Greater London, likely due to its proximity. Berkshire is also above average.

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Comparison of UK Average Salary Between Different Cities

When comparing specific cities rather than regions, average salaries can vary substantially:

CityAverage Salary

London is ahead by a clear margin, but Scotland’s two largest cities also boast higher than average salaries in the UK.

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Median UK Wages by Employment Type

Another factor affecting average UK salary figures is whether someone works full-time, part-time or is self-employed:

Employment TypeAnnual Salary

Average salaries in the UK can vary substantially depending on whether someone is employed full-time, part-time, or works for themselves:


  • Median gross annual full-time salary: £34,963 (£672 weekly)
  • Around 65% of the UK workforce. Higher job security than part-time.
  • Typically work over 30 paid hours per week on contracts.
  • Most common in sectors like healthcare, education, finance and construction.


  • Median gross annual part-time salary: £13,803 (£265 weekly)
  • Makes up 27% of UK employees. Flexibility but less stability.
  • Usually contracted less than 30 paid hours per week.
  • Most prevalent in retail, hospitality, catering and admin roles.


  • Median gross annual earnings: £20,553 (£395 weekly)
  • Around 15% of workers in Britain are self-employed.
  • Income reliant on business performance and client base.
  • Common for trades like builders, childminders and private tutors.

Full-time roles therefore offer the highest job security and earning potential. However, part-time and self-employed positions provide more flexibility, albeit with less stability and often lower median wages on average nationally.

Full-time employees in Britain earn over 150% more than part-timers and 70% higher incomes than the self-employed.

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Average Yearly Salary in the UK by Career

Average salaries also range significantly between occupations:

SectorAverage Salary

Legal and finance careers boast the highest average salaries, while lower pay is seen in sectors like hospitality or retail.

Specific roles follow a similar pattern:

RoleAverage Salary
Retail Assistant£18,080

Affording Housing on the Average UK Salary

The average UK salary of £31,447 currently translates to maximum mortgage borrowing potential of around £140-160k based on typical lender affordability criteria.

With the average UK house price at £295,903 (Jan 2023), this leaves a big affordability gulf for average earners.

Those earning below the national median pay can demonstrate additional income sources to lenders or reduce housing expectations to increase mortgage chances.


While median earnings of £31,447 provide a snapshot of average UK salaries, the reality is more nuanced. Salaries in London and the South East outstrip national averages substantially, while rural areas lag behind.

When making a major purchase like a house or relocating jobs, understanding the salary landscape helps set realistic expectations. Whether opting for a highly paid legal career in Canary Wharf, or settling down as a teacher in Cardiff, salaries vary drastically across Britain.


How does my salary impact my ability to borrow for a mortgage?

A lender will assess mortgage affordability based on your income. They want to ensure borrowers can make repayments. Typically, lenders will lend 4-4.5 times your salary. Higher salaries allow larger mortgages up to a maximum level.

What is the borrowing limit on a mortgage considering my income?

You can generally borrow between 4-4.5 times your annual income for a mortgage. For example, a £30,000 salary could get a mortgage of £120,000-£135,000. Joint applications with a partner can calculate borrowing potential based on your combined incomes.

What is the average income required in the UK to purchase a house?

The average UK salary is around £31,447. This limits mortgage borrowing potential to £140-160k based on a 4-4.5x multiple. As the average UK house price is £295,903, it makes home ownership difficult for average earners without a large deposit to cover the shortfall.

If my mortgage application has been declined due to my salary, what steps can I take?

If refused a mortgage due to income, you have several options. Reduce property expectations to lower required borrowing, secure a larger deposit to decrease the loan-to-value, evidence other incomes sources, or apply with a second borrower to increase affordability. Speaking to a specialist broker can also help secure acceptance.

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