Age vs Earnings: New Data Reveals the UK’s Salary Trends

February 23, 2024

With demand for ‘salary expectations’ up by 25%, people question whether their salaries are fair. 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.  But does your salary really align with what you should be earning?  

To uncover the truth, Instant Offices has researched what salary you should earn depending on your age. 

Middle-Aged Professionals Hold the Crown as Top Earners in Today’s Workforce 

Naturally, the sector you join and the city you live in will influence where your paycheck falls however, recent data shows that average annual salaries typically reach their peak for workers in the 40 to 49 age group whereas 18–21-year-olds start unsurprisingly lower. 

            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 

Beyond Your Years: Other Factors Influencing Salary Trends 

Industry: Salary ranges differ widely across sectors, not only when you’re a graduate but throughout your career. 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 
          Financial and insurance activities, 195.5%,          195% 
          Mining and quarrying          10.1% 
          Transportation and storage            6.3% 
          Administrative and support service activities         6.3%   
          Accommodation and food service activities         6.3% 

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. 

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. 

How to improve your salary 

Whether you’re in the highest or lowest-paying industries, there’s always room to grow, here are a few ways you can work towards increasing your salary right now: 

  1. Negotiate a salary raise: Keep details of your achievements at work and use them as leverage when negotiating a salary increase. 
  2. Research and compare your salary: Know how much your skills are worth and compare your salary with the industry average for an overview. 
  3. Become an expert: Consider training or studying short courses to become more knowledgeable in your industry. 

Sources & Methodology: Instant Offices examined multiple data sources including Forbes and Glassdoor to determine the average annual salary per age group and gender. Industry revenue growth figures were determined based on analysis of the IBISWorld database of 440+ UK industries.