Wage Wars: The UK Split & Decline in Purchasing Power - Recruitment Revolution

Wage Wars: The UK Split & Decline in Purchasing Power

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The BBC reported recently on fifteen Scottish firms which were named and shamed for the low wages they paid to their employees. The firms were commanded to give financial compensation in backpay. It was also reported that wage growth had remained subdued in recent months, putting a predicted squeeze on spending. We’ve got the latest wage numbers as published in RecruitmentBuzz from around the UK.

Geographical Salary Variation

Surprisingly it’s not London with the highest average salaries in the country but Scotland. Given the significantly higher living costs of the capital, this ties in with previous findings that Londoners have the least disposable income. The average annual salary in Scotland is £27,658.25.

In contrast, the region with the lowest annual salary is Northern Ireland coming in at £23,301.20.

National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW)

The current NMWs are as follows;

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

The current NLW is as follows;

  • 25 and over: £7.20
  1. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed in October 2016 that 1.3% of jobs paid below the NMW. If we dig into this further, between the ages of 18 and 24 a combined 5% of jobs fit this criteria. In addition there is a gender variance too – 7% of jobs worked by women pay less than the minimum wage contrasted with 1% of jobs worked by men.

Job Titles

There are certain job titles that command a high salary, the top five are;

  1. Chief executives and senior officials
  2. Pilots and flight engineers
  3. Air traffic controllers
  4. Transport Associate professionals
  5. Marketing and sales professionals


In contrast, the lowest paying professions include;

  1. Waiting staff
  2. Theme park attendants
  3. Bar staff
  4. Hairdressers and barbers
  5. Dry cleaners


With salaries at a plateau for many years it’s concerning that wages show little sign of movement. Doing a job you love is vital – but getting paid appropriately so you can enjoy your life is just as important. Browse new vacancies on our jobs page.