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New arrivals guide - UK Earnings for working holiday makers

A very common question we get asked is “how much can I expect to earn in the UK?”

To ensure your UK earnings are enough for you to live on (with extra spending money for travel and adventure), the key is to investigate all the options open to you. Regardless of you’re past experience and the type of job you are aiming for, there are ways you can increase your UK earnings and things you should look out for.

Increasing your UK earning power!

You will likely find that you earn more once you have gained some UK experience in your industry and can add this to your resume. The good news is that you can still work, in most cases, in the UK without this country-specific knowledge under your belt when you arrive. There are also some key things you can do to increase your earnings in the UK.

Things you can do to increasing your UK Earnings

  1. Starting work in a job quickly after you arrive in the UK is a great way to maximise your earnings. To do this register with agencies before you leave home.
  2. Find a contract role through an agency where your hourly earnings are generally higher.
    (Also consider that there may be other advantages to working in Permanent employment such as paid
    vacation, training, car and private heath care)
  3. Ensure there is enough work for you industry when you plan to go. You can do this by keeping informed of the UK job market for your industry. Our free monthly e-newsletter has regular job updates.
  4. Are there any additional certifications or qualifications you might need? Getting a certification or completing a course or diploma can often add to your employability and increase your earning power.
  5. Find out if there are any specific skills used in the UK that you could brush up on before arrival. Visit your appropriate UK job industry page and see if there is a software package or system that could strengthen your resume before leaving home.
  6. Prepare to be flexible on location! While it is fairly obvious that this would increase your employability, it can also give you the opportunity to live in a cheaper region than central London or give you a wider selection of positions with higher pay.
  7. Be wise when renting a flat. Renting in the UK can be expensive. We all want to live somewhere nice but do not over extend your budget on rent as you could regret this later when you cannot afford that ski trip to Switzerland. Visit our working traveller accommodation page for more information.

Contract Rates & PAYE

When you are discussing pay rates with recruiters or potential employers, find out if the advertised rate is a Contract rate or Permanent salary. Some contractors may be able to claim certain expenses to legally minimise tax, as well as potentially earn a higher hourly amount. For more information read about PAYE and Managed Service Companies.

Comparative Earnings in the UK

In most industries, earnings are comparable (in dollar terms) to those in the UK than in Australia, New Zealand and Canada and will again surpass them when the UK economy improves. Because of the exchange rate with the British Pound, many new arrivals panic at the low-looking numbers advertised for salaries. Don't panic, Britons don't do it too tough (except for the weather!) and have a very good standard of living on those 'low-looking' contract rates and salaries. Remember, real wages are always relative to the goods you can buy with them.

Keep in mind that pay rates in London tend to be higher than other cities and regions within the UK due to the higher cost of living.

What do jobs in my industry pay in the UK?

Because each job industry is so different, WORKgateways has put together pay rate and salary guidelines for each job industry in which WORKgateways assist with UK employment through our UK recruitment partners. Either click on the correct link for you below, or search current job listings for really up to date pay rate information!

  • Engineering Earnings UK - Those with skills and experience in high demand, can often start on relatively high contract rates, or permanent salaries with at least 2 years UK experience. And contract rates often increase quickly as you gain UK experience.
  • Town Planning Earnings UK - The UK planning system has its own unique characteristics to get used to. With experience in the UK system, UK salaries go up significantly.
  • Construction Earnings UK - The highest earnings in construction jobs go to those in Project Engineering/Management especially alongside strong experience in cost control and planning packages. Surveying and heavy civil project experience are in the most demand.
  • Teaching & Education Earnings UK - In UK schools there is a set national guideline pay scale for teachers in the UK. This scale considers both number of years teaching and type of experience.
  • Nursing Earnings UK - Nurses in the public sector are well paid and UK salaries are similar to those on offer in the private sector. The NHS has a points-based pay system that dictates how much you will earn.
  • Doctors Jobs Earnings UK - Doctors salaries are awarded on a points system, with nine bands based on levels of qualification, responsibility and expertise. Working conditions are also quite desirable.
  • Legal Jobs Earnings UK - Lawyer's salaries or legal secretary's wages vary significantly, involving a combination of factors including your experience, specialised knowledge and ability.
  • Accounting Earnings UK - As you gain UK experience, an accountant's salary will become more on par with UK experienced counterparts and pay rates will go up accordingly. UK qualifications such as ACA, CIMA, and ACCA will also be a factor.
  • Banking & Finance Earnings UK - Demand in the finance industry is strongest for experienced individuals. In recent times a high level of specialist experience is required.
  • Social Work Earning UK - In general, social workers earnings are considered comparatively strong in the UK especially for contract positions.
  • Other Jobs Earnings - For the majority of working travelers, finding temporary work with good contract rates is the way to go. Check here for earnings info on all sorts of jobs in the UK.

Open-minded people make greater adventurers.

The UK is a different country and a different job market than home. Great opportunities often arise where you weren't necessarily expecting them. You'll do well to be open-minded about job location, job description and pay rates within your general preference guidelines. It is amazing what can be discovered.

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