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Average salaries: know your numbers

Just what is a big salary? That is the title of an article in the BBC Magazine published following London Mayor Boris Johnson’s reported comment that being paid £250,000 a year was “chicken-feed”.

Being aware of what constitutes a big salary and indeed what constitutes an average salary is useful for quite a few fundraisers and prospect researchers, and the article offers some useful statistics from the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE).

The median salary for someone employed (full-time or part-time) in the UK in terms of their gross annual earnings is £20,801. This rises to £25,123 for only full-time employees.


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How much do you have to be earning to be in the top 25% in the UK? You’d need a gross annual salary of £31,759.

The top 10%? £44,881.

The top 5%? £58,917.

The top 1%? £118,027.

If you are earning £150,000 or more, at which point you start paying 50% income tax, you are in the top 0.6% of salaried people.

However, ASHE covers only people on PAYE. It does not cover self-employed people so the above figures do not tell the whole story.

And of course, there are a fair few people on higher than average salaries that will tell you that it doesn’t feel like it. But, there you have the figures.