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Your age isn’t the only number that increases over time. As you accrue more experience in the workplace, your value to employers inevitably increases, and therefore salary expectations should follow in line. 

There’s a direct correlation between age and salary – for most of your life, they will increase together as you learn new skills, gain more experience and increase your potential. But it also depends on several variables, including your industry, development, skillset and even gender.

Graduate Salaries in the UK

What starting salary can you expect as a new graduate? According to Glassdoor, UK graduates in 2024 can expect an average base pay of £22,000 to £45,000 a year (an average of £36,302).

Naturally, the sector you join and the city you live in will influence where your paycheck falls within this range.

Earnings by Age Group

Recent data from Forbes shows that annual salaries typically reach their peak for workers in the 40 to 49 age group.

  Age    Annual Salary
18 – 21 £22,932
22 – 29 £30,316
30 – 39 £37,544
40 – 49 £40,040
50 – 59 £37,804
60+ £33,852

Other Factors that Influence Your Salary

These factors play a significant role in determining how much you should be earning throughout your career.

Education: It is well known that a degree, at least a suitable qualification from a reputable institution, will positively affect your salary potential. A job hunter with a solid education can expect to come in at the higher end of the starting salary spectrum.

Experience: This is perhaps the most obvious factor and the one that most closely correlates with your age. The number of years you have spent in a particular role, sector, or industry will significantly impact your salary expectation. This also goes hand-in-hand with anticipated skills development.

Industry: Salary ranges differ widely across sectors, not only when you’re a graduate but throughout your career. This is based on the skills needed, demands on the employee and level of education required.

Which industries are attracting the most entrepreneurs? Read about the most popular startup industries by UK city.

Company: Big, small, traditional, progressive… any number of attributes will influence how much a company pays their employees.

Gender: Women earn less than men for full-time work across all age groups. The gender pay gap is especially noticeable among employees aged between 30 and 59. Data from Forbes shows the following pay differences by gender:

Age Group         Men Women
Annual Gross Pay Annual Gross Pay
18 – 21 £23,244 £22,516
22 – 29 £31,408 £28,380
30 – 39 £39,260 £35,100
40 – 49 £42,900 £36,192
50 – 59 £40,768 £33,592
60+ £36,244 £29,068

Positive news for women in the workplace: UK sees almost 150% increase in female leadership positions.

Ten Fastest-Growing UK Industries

These industries saw the biggest revenue growth* between 2023 and 2024, indicating the possibility of better job opportunities and earnings in the future:

Industry Revenue Growth for 2024
1 Financial and insurance activities 195.5%
2 Mining and quarrying 10.1%
3 Transportation and storage 6.3%
4 Administrative and support service activities 6.3%
5 Accommodation and food service activities 6.3%
6 Professional, scientific and technical activities 4.6%
7 Other service activities 4.5%
8 Education 3.7%
9 Wholesale and retail trade 3.5%
10 Human health and social work activities 3.2%

What Employees Want: Does More Pay Equal More Happiness?

While earning a good wage plays an essential role in overall job satisfaction, it’s not the only factor that keeps employees loyal.

According to 2023 hiring trends data from Glassdoor, creating a positive company culture is more important than ever. More employees are seeking new jobs due to stress and lack of satisfaction in their current jobs, and 46% of workers are holding their employers to higher standards, saying that their expectation of happiness at work has increased in the past year.

Key findings from a recent “What Workers Want” survey revealed that flexibility is the biggest factor for employees when deciding whether to leave a job. In fact, 50% of employees† who don’t currently have flexible working options say they want to change jobs in the next year. Other factors prompting employees to look for new jobs include unhealthy work culture, poor leadership and dissatisfaction with pay.

The survey also showed that most employees consider 8% to be a fair pay rise for 2024.

How Does Office Space Contribute to Happiness at Work?

There is a definite link between employee satisfaction and the type of space we work in.

Some researchers say open-plan offices promote lower stress levels, while others say commercial property integrated with tech can improve productivity and free up time for more creativity. Ultimately, it’s all about striking a balance and offering flexibility – a top priority for employees.

When considering where to work, look for companies that offer remote or hybrid working, the opportunity to collaborate in coworking spaces, a strong culture and a focus on work-life balance. Employers who typically focus on employee well-being and happiness as a priority are more likely to attract and retain the best talent.

Three Tips for Increasing Your Salary

Whether you’re in the highest or lowest-paying industries, there’s always room to grow. Your salary and potential earnings will increase as you improve your skills, knowledge and experience, but there are a few ways you can increase it right now:

  1. Negotiate a salary raise

Keep details of your achievements at work and use them as leverage when negotiating a salary increase.

  1. Research and compare your salary

Know how much your skills are worth and compare your salary with the industry average for an overview.

  1. Become an expert

Consider training or studying short courses to become more knowledgeable in your industry.

The moral of the story? Keep improving your worth, learning from great mentors and studying your niche to fund success in your industry through every stage of your career.

*Based on analysis of the IBISWorld database of 440+ UK industries

†Based on a survey of 2,017 UK employees


Author ianh22

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