Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Advertised UK salaries improve annually for the first time since 2015

Average UK advertised salaries have posted a year-on-year increase for the first time since June 2015, according to

  • UK salaries increase year-on-year for the first time since June 2015 – up 1.2% from November 2016 to £32,598
  • London shows one of the biggest regional improvement in terms of average salary – up 2.2% annually to £39,457
  • Total vacancies available fall year-on-year despite month-on-month recovery – 1.3% fewer vacancies than November 2016
  • Admin jobs currently the biggest improver in terms of salary increases, according to Adzuna data – salaries are up 26.7% year-on-year to £27,551
  • Graduate jobs among worst performers as advertised salaries decline 12.2% from November 2016 – average wages for graduate roles currently stand at £21,814  

The 1.2% improvement in the year to November means the average advertised wage is now £32,598. However, while this represents a chink of light for jobseekers after a period of stagnant salaries, this wage growth has yet to filter through to those in existing roles. With this in mind, employers may also have to consider increasing salary packages to not only attract fresh blood, but also to retain top talent.     

UK workers will be hoping this happens sooner rather than later, with the rising cost of Christmas adding additional pressure to the ongoing affordability squeeze. In addition to the overall cost of living and the inflation rate nearing a six-year high, even the traditional festive meal may not be sacred with Good Housekeeping estimating a 16% uptick in the price of the seasonal spread. Present buying and additional socialising encourages more frivolous spending around Christmas, meaning consumer disposable incomes are being stretched to the max.

In terms of the regional picture, London has shown one of the biggest improvements with regards to average salary, according to Adzuna data. Advertised salaries in the capital are up 2.2% from November 2016 to currently sit at £39,457. For companies who operate in the financial services sector in the capital – one of the world’s most renowned financial hubs – the dilemma remains whether to relocate outside of the UK, a so-called Brexodus, with Dublin and Frankfurt touted as alternative headquarters offering companies a more certain future.

For those organisations looking to stay put, employers must offer attractive pay packages to attract and retain the best candidates. Adzuna data shows that average advertised salaries in London regularly exceeded £40,000 before the referendum vote, reaching a high of £42,782 in October 2014.

At the other end of the spectrum, Scotland has experienced the poorest annual salary shift year-on-year, with advertised wages in November 2017 (£29,630) 1.6% lower than 12 months previously. Recent data from the ONS also shows that Scotland’s employment rate has fallen by 0.9% to 74.9% and its unemployment total rose by 8,000 in the three months to October to now stand at 114,000.

One contributing factor to poor wage growth in Scotland is the rising risk of insolvency. According to a report conducted by the insolvency trade body R3, the amount of firms north of the border that are at a higher than average risk of insolvency has risen sharply. Its latest data shows that 26.6% of firms fell into this category, contributing to poor wage growth as employers face cost pressures to keep their businesses afloat.

The total number of advertised UK vacancies has recovered on a monthly basis yet stills fall short of last year’s figures. There are currently 1,150,124 openings, down 1.3% from 1,165,052 in November 2016. However, a monthly uptick of 0.2% this November brings to a halt the downward trend that started in the summer. 

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, explains: “The first increase in annual advertised salaries we’ve seen since the summer of 2015 is a timely shot in the arm for jobhunters and gives those already in work the encouragement that their pay packages may soon follow suit. If they don’t, with more than a million vacancies currently available, then disgruntled employees may soon vote with their feet and look elsewhere.

“Northern Ireland continues to set the pace on a regional basis with annual salary increases of 8.8%, but the recovery in London is just as noteworthy given it’s been through some tough times this year. With a year-on-year advertised salary improvement of 2.2% in the capital, it might not just be Dick Whittington in festive pantomimes up and down the land who heads to London to seek his fortune.”  


November 2017

October 2017



Annual change from November 2016

UK Vacancies





Jobseekers per Vacancy





Av. Advertised UK Salary






Table 1: Total advertised vacancies and UK salary  

Admin jobs outsmart rise in AI

According to Adzuna’s White Paper, the UK jobs market is currently witnessing a decline in job vacancies in recent years due to automation and the rise in artificial intelligence. The report predicts a substantial portion of all desk-based jobs will become automated within the next 25 years. However, according to the latest jobs data from Adzuna, administrative jobs are in fact the top performer in terms of improvements in average salary. Typical advertised salaries within this sector are up by 26.7% from November 2016; currently sitting at £27,551.

Not only is the involvement of human labour in order to smooth the transition to automation often overlooked, but a human touch, verbal communication and interpersonal skills can transcend the efficiencies achieved by machines. Rather than remove supportive roles such as admin and manual labour, employees and jobseekers within this field can be retrained and or re-educated with the necessary T-levels and courses that support the tech sector. The latest Adzuna data shows there are currently 44,782 total advertised vacancies for admin roles.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, explains: “It is clear we are storming towards a paperless society and our reliance on technology is becoming ever-more dependent. However, low-skilled roles such as admin jobs are often overlooked. Rather than view administrative roles as next in line on the chopping block, they should be viewed as an opportunity to gain valuable transferable skills such as organisation and communication skills that can fast track jobseekers and employees higher up the recruitment chain.

“Secondly, admin jobs can be a useful part-time or temporary source of employment to gain additional income, given the recent pay squeeze. Reshaping perspective and retaining those in vulnerable positions within the labour market will prevent the quality of the talent pool diminishing.”

Graduates feel the pinch this Christmas  

With Brexit negotiations in full swing in an attempt to create a clear path for Britain’s exit from the EU, there has been speculation as to whether certain sectors and industries will be able to stand firm against the backdrop of political uncertainty.  According to the Bank of England, up to 75,000 jobs could be lost from the financial services sector, a demanding industry that is particularly popular among graduates. This would place further strain on the UK jobs market, as the positions that were once popular to graduates within the UK workforce could potentially be relocated by these firms to financial hubs outside of the UK.  

Adzuna data shows graduate jobs are therefore among the worst performers as advertised salaries are down 12.2% from 2016. The average salary for graduates currently resides at £21,814. In addition, the total number of advertised graduate vacancies sits at 13,230.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna explains: “Any form of change brings a period of adjustment and uncertainty and Brexit plans will do the same for the UK jobs market. With large firms – particularly those within the financial services sector – business confidence plays a major key in the driving force behind decision making. Therefore, it would be naïve to downplay the potential for a Brexodus, as these companies could relocate headquarters and or business units to wider financial centres outside of the UK.

“The knock-on effect this will have lands on graduates, as companies simply won’t be looking to add to their ranks in the way they once did with the traditional milk rounds. With more teenagers than ever before heading to university according to UCAS, simply having a degree doesn’t differentiate candidates in the way it once did, so internships and other strings to your bow are more important than ever.” 

Table 2: Best-performing job sectors in the UK – annual salaries

Job Sector

Average salary

Salary % 12 Month Change

Total Vacancies

Admin Jobs




Retail Jobs




Travel Jobs




HR & Recruitment Jobs




Charity & Voluntary Jobs




Creative & Design Jobs




Energy, Oil & Gas Jobs