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What is the true average UK salary?

Read on to explore the factors that could affect your next salary

For many job hunters, the salary attached to a role is one of the most important factors when deciding whether to apply; however, how can you be sure the rate offered is in keeping with the UK average?

In 2015, the average UK full-time wage was calculated at £27,600. This is a reasonable figure to many; however, your age has a huge impact on the salary you can expect from your new employer. As a rule of thumb, the younger the applicant, the lower the average rate of pay.

Fewer years is often taken to mean, at least in the case of very young applicants, less experience in the working world and therefore less experience and skills to bring to the role. As age increases and experience grows, salaries increase to reflect the development of the individual. Graduate jobs in 2016 were on average offering a starting salary of £19-22,000, although rates of pay vary wildly between industries.

Many studies have looked at the rates of pay that might reasonably be expected in each decade of a working life. During the ages of 22 to 29, one calculation set the average wage at around £443 per week; once into your 30s, experience, skills and development could see the potential to earn an average of £550 per week, rising to around £653 per week once into your 40s. As noted previously, rates of pay are dependent on the industry and company for which an individual works.

Several factors other than age can have an impact on the average wage you might expect from a new position. Education is one of the most crucial, with obvious benefits to job seekers. A degree or relevant qualification will often ensure the applicant achieves the higher end of a starting salary scale.

Experience is also key, and arguably more important than formal qualifications in some industries. Solid years of demonstrable experience can help to boost the salary entitlement of job hunters in accordance with the skills they have acquired over their working life.

Gender and location can also impact average salaries. Reports have shown the average wage for women sits at around £22,381, compared with £32,961 for men. This shows a trend for women peaking earlier in their working lives and then seeing a decline in their earnings – women statistically peak in their late 30s, while men see their maximum earning potential level out in their 40s.

In terms of location, those looking for work in major cities can expect a higher rate of pay than those hunting further afield. London-based applicants especially could reasonably anticipate larger salaries reflective of the key businesses and industries located in the capital.

Some industries pay better than others, and some are currently enjoying a period of rapid growth. Hospitality, construction, manufacturing, engineering and the private sector are all expanding, leading to an increase in average rates of pay across these industries.

Working out the average UK wage is tricky. With age, education and even gender directly affecting an individual’s earning potential, it can be difficult to know exactly what the future holds when job hunting.

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