Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

Revealed: the highest and lowest paid UK jobs in 2020

Senior bankers command wages as high as £350,000 while senior retailers can earn just £28,000

A city worker walks past the Bank of England in the City of London. Senior M&A advisers can earn up to £350,000 per year, a new study found. EPA
A city worker walks past the Bank of England in the City of London. Senior M&A advisers can earn up to £350,000 per year, a new study found. EPA

The salaries and bonuses of British senior bank employees are still much higher than in any other industry, despite years of cost-cutting and redundancies, a new study found.

The top-five best paid jobs in a new ranking of senior roles by Emolument, a global provider of crowdsourced pay data, are all related to investment banking, with the highest remunerated roles going to senior M&A advisers, with a total compensation of £350,000 ($453,716) per year.


However, sectors particularly exposed to Covid-19, such as retail, are not faring as well with senior roles on the shop floor – where professionals can have more than 10 years experience – only commanding £28,000. This places senior retail employees below the median UK salary of £30,000.

"More than a job, it's an industry's business model that is under pressure: the retail industry accounts for 10 per cent of the UK's economy, way above financial services' 6.9 per cent, but it seems its viability can only be sustained at the cost of salaries much lower than in any other industry,” said Thomas Drewry, co-founder of Emolument.

"It is yet to be seen what will happen to this fragile equilibrium, at a time when Covid-19 is accelerating the shift towards online businesses and digital workers."

Britain's unemployment rate rose to 4.5 per cent in the three months to August, its highest in more than three years, after coronavirus hammered the country’s job market. The Bank of England expects the unemployment rate to hit 7.5 per cent by the end of the year.

Another industry deeply affected by Covid-19 is event organising, which secured a low ranking on the Emolument study.

However, senior event marketing employees are still faring better than retail workers with salaries of £51,000. This could change in the coming months if more large scale events are cancelled as the UK heads into a second wave of Covid-19, with regional lockdowns the new normal.

The study highlighted that while salaries and bonuses for senior bank employees are much higher than other industries, the odds of a graduate employee ever reaching that level of compensation are slim.

Only 20 per cent of an analyst class will make it to managing director level, with the remaining 80 per cent either leaving the sector before being promoted, being pushed out or getting stuck in lower paid positions.

Updated: October 20, 2020 07:45 PM

Sign up to our daily email