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Mr A

Is £35k a Good Salary in the UK? A Guide to Average Salaries

Understanding the Context: The UK Economy and Employment

Before diving into the main question of whether £35k is a good salary in the UK, it's important to first understand the context in which UK salaries are set. The UK is one of the world's wealthiest and most developed economies, with a strong currency and historically low levels of unemployment. While the overall economic picture might look positive, however, many people still struggle to make ends meet, even when earning what might be considered a "good" salary.

Defining a Good Salary — The Importance of Personal Circumstances and Location

The idea of a good salary can vary greatly depending on personal circumstances, and it's essential to account for factors such as:

  • Geographic location (e.g., living in London vs a small town)
  • Number of dependents
  • Lifestyle (e.g., eating out often vs cooking at home)
  • Housing costs (e.g., mortgage or rent payments)
  • Transport and commute expenses
  • Savings and financial goals (e.g., saving for retirement or a house deposit)

These factors play a significant role in determining how far a £35k salary will stretch and whether it could be considered a "good" salary for your situation.

How Does £35k Compare to UK Average Salaries?

When evaluating whether £35k is a good salary, it's helpful to know how it compares to the average salary in the UK. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the median gross annual salary for full-time employees in the UK in 2020 was around £31,461. A £35k salary is above the national average, placing earners in the upper half of the income distribution.

It's important to note that this national average includes employees in various roles and industries, from entry-level to management positions, and those working in both the public and private sectors, which could distort the comparison.

Comparing £35k to Salaries in Different Professions

To understand whether £35k is a good salary, it's useful to compare it to salaries in different professions. The following list provides some salary benchmarks for popular roles in the UK:

  • Teaching: Newly qualified teachers in England and Wales typically start on salaries of at least £25,714, while experienced teachers can earn up to £41,604.
  • Nursing: The starting salary for a newly qualified nurse in the UK is around £24,907, while experienced nurses can earn up to £38,890.
  • Software engineering: Junior software engineers typically earn upwards of £25,000. Salaries for more experienced engineers can range from £35,000 to over £60,000.
  • Accountancy: Trainee accountants usually earn between £18,000 and £25,000, with Qualified accountants making between £30,000 and £45,000.

Comparing the £35k figure to salaries in different professions suggests that while it's not an exceptionally high salary, it does fall within the average to above-average range for various roles.

How Does £35k Compare Across the UK? Regional Differences and Cost of Living

Salaries and cost of living can vary significantly across the UK, and £35k may stretch further in some regions than in others. Key factors include housing costs, which are substantially higher in London and the South East, and the cost of transportation.

A £35k salary in London might be considered moderate, while in other regions such as the North of England, Wales, and Scotland, it could be viewed as more comfortable.

Is £35k a Good Salary for London?

London, as the capital city of the UK, has higher living costs than other regions. Many people in London spend a considerable proportion of their salary on housing costs, such as rent or mortgage payments. According to Homelet, the average rent in London in 2020 was £1,665 per month, compared to £821 per month for the UK as a whole.

To give you an idea of how £35k might fare in London, consider the following:

  • Take-home pay after tax and National Insurance contributions would be around £2,250 per month.
  • If you spent the recommended 30% of your take-home pay on housing costs, you'd have £675 available for rent or mortgage payments — significantly lower than the average monthly rent in London.
  • Other costs such as transport, groceries, and leisure activities can also be higher in London, adding further strain to a £35k salary.

In London, a £35k salary might not provide the same level of comfort as it would in other areas of the UK, especially considering the capital's high housing costs.

Is £35k a Good Salary for Saving and Financial Goals?

Achieving financial goals, such as saving for a house deposit or building an emergency fund, often requires a certain level of disposable income. A £35k salary might not provide a significant amount of disposable income in high-cost areas like London, but it could enable you to save more in regions with more affordable living costs.

Whether £35k is a "good" salary for your financial goals will depend on your personal expectations, priorities, and aspirations.


In conclusion, a £35k salary is above the UK's average full-time annual salary. However, whether it's considered a "good" salary largely depends on personal circumstances, geographic location, and financial goals. It's crucial to weigh all these factors when determining if a £35k salary would provide a comfortable lifestyle for you and your family.

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