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Who are best and worst paid workers?

Insight into wage rates across the UK


Analysis of pay grades

Despite usual patterns that show December as a quiet month for pay rises and recruitment, in December 2016, salaries saw an increase, according to HR news.

Following that report, DCS Multiserve, cleaning company in Newcastle investigated what some of the salaries look like in the UK, and has provided some insights, which include:

  • The regions with the highest – and lowest – salaries
  • The job titles with the highest – and lowest – salaries
  • Industries, job roles, and genders that pay below the National Minimum Wage

National Minimum Wage versus National Living Wage

What is the difference? National Minimum Wage is the minimum amount of money that an employee is entitled to per hour of work – this applies to everyone of all ages. National Living Wage was only introduced by the government in April 2016. Applying only to employees aged 25 and over, this entitles employees to a higher rate per hour of work.

Current National Minimum Wage (NMW) per hour:

  • Apprentice: £3.40
  • Under 18s: £4
  • 18-20: £5.55
  • 21-24: £6.95

National Living Wage (NLW) per hour:

  • 25 and over: £7.20

People with part-time jobs are more likely not to be paid the NMW or NLW
In October 2016, it was reported by the Office for National Statistics that 1.3% of all UK jobs are paying less than the NMW or NLW to their employees who are aged 16 or over – that is 362,000 jobs.

This is divided into 2.4% of part-time jobs and 0.9% of full-time jobs.

People ages 19-20 are most likely to be paid less than the NMW or NLW
Of those 362,000 jobs that are underpaying employees:

  • 1% of jobs are paying 18-20 year olds less than they are entitled to
  • 4% of jobs underpay 21-24 year olds
  • 3% of jobs for people 25 and over pay less than NLW or NMW

Women are more likely to be paid less than the NMW or NLW

  • 7% of all jobs worked by women are paying less than the NMW; contrasted with just 1% of jobs worked by men. That’s 230,000 jobs contrasted with 132,000.
  • 1% of full-time jobs worked by females are underpaid, whereas only 0.7% of men working full-time are underpaid. That’s 90,000 jobs contrasted with 88,000.
  • 4% of part-time female workers are underpaid; contrasted with 2.3% of part-time jobs worked by men. That’s 140,000 jobs contrasted with 44,000.

Workers in the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber are most likely to be paid less than NMW or NLW

  • 7% of jobs are underpaid in the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber – equating to 40,000 and 38,000 jobs respectively.
  • London (0.9%) and Scotland (1%) are the least-likely regions to underpay their employees, equating to 35,000 and 25,000 jobs respectively.

Hairdressing and childcare are most likely to pay below NMW or NLW

  • 7% of hairdressing roles pay less than the NMW – equating to 8,000 jobs.
  • Around 8,000 childcare jobs are paid below the NMW, with equates to 4% of childcare jobs.

Salaries and job titles
A recent article in the Independent revealed the highest paid jobs of 2016. So who is earning the big money? Let’s take a look at the results:

The top five best paid jobs:

  1. Taking first place are the chief executives and senior officials who can expect to take home around £85.3K per year.
  2. Second place goes to pilots and flight engineers who earn £85K per year.
  3. Air traffic controllers are third, who are paid around £80K per year.
  4. Transport Associate professionals can expect to earn about £75.5K per year.
  5. Marketing and sales professionals take home £70K per year.

And the top five worst paid jobs? Business Insider UK reported:

  1. Waiting staff take first place only earning £266.40 per week, without tips – £13,852.80 per year.
  2. Theme Park Attendants enter at second position, taking home around £273.30 per week – £14,211.60 per year.
  3. Bar staff are expected to earn £274.00 per week, again, without tips – £14,248 per year.
  4. Hairdressers and barbers are typically paid £274.10 per week – £14,253.20 per year
  5. Dry cleaners can expect to take home £275.40 per week – £14,320.80 per year.

Salaries and regions

The average salary of UK regions is detailed below, ordered from highest to lowest*


Weekly: £544.02

Annual: £ 28,289.30

Greater South East

Weekly: £531.89

Annual: £27,658.25

South West

Weekly: £500.38

Annual: £26,019.93

East Midlands

Weekly: £478.86

Annual: £24,900.72

West Midlands

Weekly: £474.125

Annual: £24,654.5

North East

Weekly: £461.90

Annual: £24,013.60

North West

Weekly: £458.18

Annual: £23825.24


Weekly: £454.13

Annual: £23614.93


Weekly: £453.37

Annual: £23,575.07

Northern Ireland

Weekly: £448.10

Annual: £23,301.20


  • Scotland takes first place as the region which earns the highest average salary in the UK. On average, workers earn around £28,289.30 per annum.
  • The region with the lowest average salary in the UK is Northern Ireland, typically earning £23,301.20 a year.
  • There is a difference of £4,988.10 between the average salary of the highest-paid region and the lowest paid.
  • Based on the above data, the average UK salary is £24,985.27 – the closest region to this is the East Midlands at an annual salary of £24,900.72.


This article is published under the terms of the DB Direct service. For details click here

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