UK salary guide 2024: How much should you be earning?

Check out your earning potential in sectors including accounting, technology, HR, law and sales and marketing

People head to work in the City of London. Average UK salary increases are expected to fall in the private and public sectors this year. Bloomberg
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Scroll down for detailed guides on salary brackets for various sectors

First, the good news: employees in the UK can expect an average salary rise of about 4 per cent in 2024.

The bad news? This year’s projected salary increase is down from 5 per cent last year and marks the first decrease in wage hikes since before the Covid-19 pandemic began, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD).

For employees in the country’s embattled public sector, the news is worse, with salary increases set to fall to 3 per cent, from 5 per cent in 2023, the country’s professional body for human resources says in its quarterly Labour Market Outlook report.

“This quarter, we see the tide turning on pay,” the CIPD says. “As inflation continues its descent in 2024, expected pay awards will likely follow suit.”

Inflation in the UK peaked at a record 11.1 per cent in October 2022, leading to a cost-of-living crisis and steep drop in the value of employees’ salaries as they struggled to cover daily living expenses.

However, the UK slipped into recession in the second half of 2023 after the economy shrank 0.3 per cent in the three months to December, the Office for National Statistics said earlier this month.

While inflation has eased – in January, the UK’s inflation rate remained steady at 4 per cent and food prices fell for the first time since September 2021 – salary increases are expected to track the cost-of-living index amid a competitive labour market.

“Decreasing staff levels appears to be higher on the agenda in 2024, in response to the higher wage costs experienced over the past couple of years,” the CIPD says.

“This is evident in both the public and private sector, combined with a turn away from continuing to absorb costs or, in the case of the private sector, reduced profits during the period of high inflation.”

What is the salary and employment outlook for jobseekers in the UK in 2024? Read on to find out and look at our detailed salary guides below for a snapshot of your industry.

Will salaries increase in 2024?

Salary rises in the UK this year will be lower compared with 2023, falling in line with easing inflation at an average of 4 per cent.

That doesn’t mean to say that employees will be unable to negotiate higher increases above the average estimate, but it will depend on the sector, a company’s bottom line, performance reviews and whether or not their role is in demand.

However, the economic landscape is creating a challenging hiring outlook for candidates and employers, says Doug Rode, managing director of the UK and Ireland at Michael Page.

“This trajectory that hiring will continue to tie in with the economic outlook is something we expect to see throughout 2024 – especially when it comes to salary,” Mr Rode says in the Michael Page 2024 UK Salary Guide.

“Candidates are nervous to move due to uncertainty around job security and clients are becoming increasingly selective about hiring decisions and packages as they look to fulfil their business needs.”

Average salary increases in small to medium enterprises (SMEs) will remain higher at 5 per cent compared with private sector organisations, the CIPD adds.

“This, combined with the finding that fewer SMEs are hiring, indicates that SMEs appear to be focusing on retention of existing staff as we enter 2024,” it says.

“Many people will also benefit from incremental progression or promotions, bonuses or a pay bump when switching jobs.”

The CIPD data is based on a poll of more than 2,000 HR professionals and decision makers in the UK and shows that 24 per cent of organisations in the country plan to increase their employees' base pay by between 4 per cent and 4.99 per cent.

One in five companies (19 per cent) will increase salaries by 2 per cent to 2.99 per cent, while 12 per cent are planning a pay freeze, it adds.

“However, a larger proportion [17 per cent] are still planning pay rises of above 6 per cent in 2024," it says.

Meanwhile, jobseekers’ salary package expectations are evolving and they are seeking a better work-life balance and to develop new skills, Mr Rode says.

“As a result, businesses must look beyond the numbers and ensure they’re offering a holistic package to ensure talent – existing and new – feel safe, secure and, most of all, motivated,” he adds.

What benefits can UK jobseekers expect in 2024?

Attractive employee benefits can give companies a competitive advantage when it comes to recruitment, as well as boosting staff retention, morale and productivity, UK job search engine Adzuna says.

Up to two thirds of employees believe the benefits offered to them are equal to or more important than their basic salary, Adzuna said in a blog post in December.

“Indeed, demand from employees for benefits may also be on the rise, with 83 per cent of businesses having experienced an increase in requests from employees for enhanced well-being benefits,” it said.

However, three in 10 professionals say they do not receive any workplace benefits at all, according to a study conducted by recruitment specialist Reed as part of its 2024 UK salary guide, which surveyed 5,000 employees last November.

The three most common benefits received by employees in the UK are: flexitime (20 per cent), a company pension higher than the required amount (18 per cent), and an annual salary increment (18 per cent), the Reed survey found.

However, 45 per cent of workers say they would prefer an annual salary increase, 36 per cent want to be offered a four-day working week and 36 per cent want flexitime, it shows.

“In 2021, we saw higher demand for health-related benefits, which reflected the stress the pandemic had on workers,” Reed says in its report.

“Last year, workers were feeling the initial impact of rising energy bills and inflation, which was reflected in their desire for more financial-led benefits, such as salary increments and pensions. This year, however, there’s a greater balance between money and flexibility.”

Other benefits on employees' wish lists include private health care, a cycle to work initiative, life insurance, uncapped annual leave and a gym and wellness programme, Reed says.

Will employees receive a bonus in 2024?

The positive effect that year-end bonuses have on employees is well-known. Not only do they boost morale for a job well done, they are also a welcome financial boost for workers, particularly during challenging economic times.

In the UK, 41 per cent of employees do not expect to receive a bonus for their hard work in 2023, according to the Robert Walters 2024 salary guide, which surveyed 4,000 professionals and 2,000 employers for its annual report.

A year-end bonus remains a crucial retention tool, influencing almost four in five employees' career plans
Chris Eldridge, chief executive of Robert Walters UK

More than half of professionals, or 68 per cent, polled for the survey say they would “seriously contemplate” leaving their current job if they missed out on a bonus, it adds.

However, 59 per cent of professionals are expecting a bonus of between 10 per cent and 30 per cent of their salary.

“A year-end bonus remains a crucial retention tool, influencing almost four in five employees' career plans,” Chris Eldridge, chief executive of Robert Walters UK, says in the report.

“It also helps with motivation for the following year – when people feel appreciated, they are more committed to continuing the hard work to reap the benefits in the years to come.”

Meanwhile, a third of employers polled for the survey say they have not budgeted for end-of-year bonuses, but 52 per cent have, according to Robert Walters.

UK salary guide 2024

Check out our detailed salary guides below for a snapshot of how much you can expect to be paid in your sector in 2024.

Finance and accounting

IT and technology

Admin, HR and office support


Financial services

Marketing and creative

Updated: February 26, 2024, 8:00 AM