Guest Sign UpLoginNew PostSections ₦0What's Up?DownloadsShopChatToolsAdvertise
Join the Publishers' Program. Get paid for writing.
Recharge DSTV, GOTV, StarTimes, & PREPAID METERS on

Mr A

Is £20k a Good Salary in the UK? A Guide to Average Salaries

Understanding the UK's Average Salaries

To establish whether a £20k salary is good in the UK, it is essential to first understand the average salaries for various roles, experience levels, and industries. The median salary in the UK stands at just over £30,000 per year. However, there are several factors that can impact individual earnings. These include cost of living, education, career level, and location. In this section, we'll discuss these factors and their influence on salaries.

1. Cost of Living: The cost of living has a significant impact on how far your salary goes. If you live in an area with a high cost of living, like London, you will likely need a higher salary to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Conversely, living in a more affordable area means a £20k salary can go further.

2. Education: Generally speaking, the more education and qualifications you have, the higher your earning potential. Industries that require a high level of education often offer higher salaries to attract skilled professionals.

3. Career Level: Salaries tend to rise as an individual gains more experience and climbs the career ladder. Entry-level jobs generally pay less than those requiring more expertise.

4. Location: Salaries can vary significantly between regions in the UK. London and the South East generally have higher salaries than the rest of the country. Jobs in cities also tend to pay more than those in rural areas.

Note: Salaries can also be dependent on the company, its size, and its performance. These factors are harder to quantify but can impact your earnings as well.

Comparing £20k to the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage

National Minimum Wage: In the UK, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) sets the minimum hourly pay rate by the government, depending on age and whether you're an apprentice. As of April 2021, the National Living Wage (NLW) for workers aged 23 and over is £8.91 per hour.

If you're working full-time (40 hours per week), this equates to an annual salary of around £18,530. A £20k salary exceeds the NLW, providing a slightly more substantial income.

Real Living Wage: The Real Living Wage (RLW) is a voluntary hourly rate calculated by the Living Wage Foundation. It is based on the actual cost of living in the UK, currently set at £10.85 per hour in London and £9.50 per hour outside London.

For a full-time worker (40 hours per week), this totals approximately £22,568 in London and £19,760 outside London. A £20k salary is below the RLW in London but very close to the suggested wage for the rest of the country.

Comparing £20k Salary with UK Jobs and Industry Averages

To further explore whether a £20k salary is suitable, it's helpful to evaluate the average pay for various industries and job roles in the UK.

  • Retail and Hospitality: The average salary in this industry ranges between £16,000 to £23,000, which means that a £20k salary falls within this range.
  • Receptionist/Administrative Assistant: With an average salary of £18,000 to £22,000, a £20k income is reasonable in this field.
  • Customer Service: The average salary for a customer service role is around £18k to £25k, placing a £20k salary in a competitive range.
  • Trainee or Junior-level Positions: For those starting new careers or switching industries, a £20k salary may be on par with entry-level or trainee salaries.

However, some industries and roles command higher salaries, where a £20k income may seem relatively low:

  • Engineering: Entry-level engineers typically earn around £25k per year, which exceeds a £20k salary.
  • Technology Professionals: IT and similar industries usually provide higher salaries with average starting pay at around £25k to £30k.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Average entry-level salaries in this field are around £20k to £26k, with room for growth as experience increases.

Impact of Age and Experience on Salaries

Age and experience have a significant impact on your earning potential. A £20k salary for someone at their career's start is solid, as it is well above the National Minimum Wage and comparable to entry-level positions in various industries. However, as individuals progress in their career, they gain experience and skill which should ideally increase the salary over time. Consequently, for experienced professionals, a £20k salary might be less desirable compared to the industry average.

How Far Does £20k Stretch in Different Parts of the UK?

The cost of living varies significantly throughout the UK, affecting how valuable a £20k salary feels when providing your essential needs. Factors like housing, food, transportation, and utilities differ across regions.

High-cost areas like London will make a £20k salary feel significantly lower, with many individuals struggling to afford rent and other basic expenses. However, in many regions across the Midlands, the North of England, Scotland and Wales, a £20k salary can still provide a comfortable living.


In conclusion, whether or not a £20k salary is a good income in the UK largely depends on your personal circumstances, such as location, industry, and experience. For someone at the beginning of their career, living outside of high-cost areas like London, a £20k salary can offer a decent starting point. However, as you gain experience and move up the career ladder, seeking higher-paying opportunities becomes essential.

It is crucial to continuously assess your salary in relation to your experience, skillset, and location, and not hesitate to negotiate for higher pay where appropriate. By balancing your salary with your cost of living, you can work towards achieving financial stability and a fulfilling life in the UK.

Follow @JalingoHQ on twitter.

Related Topics

Top SectionsSee More

This forum does not have any topics.

Top Posters This Month (500 Credits)
(See More)