Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in the UK

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The UK is among the best countries in the world to work, with average salaries surpassing £27,000 a year. And with the National Minimum Wage rising 4 per cent from £7.20 to £7.50 an hour earlier this month, that figure is expected to continue to rise.

But the question you’re all probably wondering is: who takes home the most money?

Let’s take a (probably envious) look at the 10 highest paying jobs in the country.

10. Financial Institution Managers and Directors

Average annual salary: £75,169

If you’re looking for employment in the finance industry, you might want to consider a career as a financial institution manager or director, for example: a bank manager.

Bank managers are tasked with overseeing the day-to-day operations of their branch, supervising staff and finding ways to attract new customers. There are no set requirements to enter this career, but entry is possible through an apprenticeship.

With experience, you could become a regional or head office manager, move into head office operations or work with the bank’s overseas division. Salaries typically start £17,000 but can climb to more than £70,000 a year.

9. IT and Telecommunications Directors

Average annual salary: £78,071

A career in IT or telecommunications is a great choice, as professionals in this field are constantly in demand in many different environments.

As an IT Director, you’ll be responsible for managing the development of IT systems for the organisation that you work for and its customers. A relevant degree, postgraduate or professional qualification is typically required and you’ll also need several years’ relevant experience in a senior management role.

With experience, you may be able to become a chief executive or chair and start earning £140,000 a year.

8. Medical Practitioners

Average annual salary: £78,386

Medical practitioners include anaesthetists, hospital consultants, GPs, paediatricians, psychiatrists, radiologists, surgeons and everyone else whose job is to ensure the good mental and physical health of patients.

Entry requirements vary for each profession, but a degree in medicine recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC) is usually expected as is adequate specialist training.

Anaesthetists, surgeons and psychiatrists make the top salaries in this field, earning between £76,000 and £102,500.

7. Air Traffic Controllers

Average annual salary: £81,132

There are plenty of jobs in the aviation industry that pay well, and they include air traffic controllers who are responsible for guiding and advising pilots to help them take off and land safely and on time.

To enter the profession, you’ll need to get licensed from the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and undergo training which takes three years to complete. Starting salaries typically begin at £17,000 but earning potential rises as you gain more experience.

You could later move into training and assessing new controllers, become a supervisor or unit manager, or move into operations management.

6. In-House Lawyers

Average Annual Salary: £80,210

In-house lawyers (which include attorneys and legal consultants) are responsible for advising clients on the law and acting on their behalf in legal matters.

They typically need to hold a law degree or a postgraduate diploma, as well as complete a legal practice course (LPC) and a two-year training programme. Entry is possible through an apprenticeship which offers you the opportunity to earn while you learn on the job.

Starting salaries range from £25,000 and £40,000, but with experience you can earn as much as £100,000 a year or more. It’s also worth mentioning that the UK was listed among the top 10 countries with the highest salaries for lawyers in 2016.


5. Financial Managers and Directors

Average annual salary: £84,675

Financial managers and directors can be employed in both public and private sector organisations in many different areas, including charities, financial institutions, multinational corporations, NHS trusts, retailers and universities. Their job is to provide financial guidance and support to clients and colleagues to help them make sound business decisions.

They typically need to hold a degree in a relevant subject like accountancy, finance, business, economics, mathematics or statistics, and gaining membership with a professional organisation can be incredibly useful. Starting salaries range between £24,000 and £35,000 a year but professionals with more than 10 years’ experience can earn anywhere between £65,000 and £100,000 or more.

4. Airline Pilots

Average annual salary: £86,915

Becoming an airline pilot is no easy feat, but the salary and benefits that come with being one make it worth your time and effort.

You’ll need an Airline Transport Pilot’s License (ATPL) or ‘frozen ATPL’, which involves completing a course (which takes at least 18 months and can cost anywhere between £60,000 and £90,000), passing a security check and getting a medical certificate.

You’ll start as a co-pilot earning between £20,000 and £30,000 before qualifying as an airline captain once you’ve logged 1,500 flying hours and applied for an ‘unfrozen’ or full APTL, after which you can earn as much as £140,000 a year. You could later become a flight instructor or an operations manager.

Other potentially lucrative professions in the aviation industry include helicopter pilots, flight engineers and first officers.

3. Marketing Directors

Average annual salary: £87,890

Marketing directors generally start out as marketing managers or managing directors, and are responsible for planning ways to promote their company’s products or brands and increase the company’s share of the market.

You’ll need a degree, postgraduate or professional qualification to enter the profession, as well as several years’ experience in a senior management role where you handled major accounts and dealt with marketing campaigns.

With experience, you could become a marketing consultant.

2. Chief Executives

Average annual salary: £123,577

These professionals devise strategies and policies to ensure the organisation they work for meets its goals. They work in nearly every industry in C-suite roles like Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers and Chief Medical Officers.

Chief executives typically hold a degree, postgraduate or professional qualification related to their field. They should also have a proven track record of making good business decisions as well as several years’ experience in a senior management role.

1. Brokers

Average annual salary: £133,868

The highest paying job in the UK belongs to that of a broker who is responsible for buying and selling goods and assets for others. They include stockbrokers, foreign exchange dealers, stock exchange traders and insurance brokers.

Stockbrokers are usually associated with a brokerage firm or broker-dealer and are responsible for managing their clients’ investments by trading stocks, securities and other financial instruments to get the best possible return. There are no set requirements to become a stockbroker, though you’ll usually need a 2:1 degree or higher.

Insurance brokers work in either retail or commercial insurance, and it is their job to find the best level of insurance cover for their customers. Retail insurance includes home and pet insurance, while commercial insurance covers areas like aviation and oil and gas. They usually need to be qualified from the Chartered Insurance Institute, and entry is possible through an apprenticeship.

Have any of these 10 jobs inspired you and your choice of career? Perhaps you work in one of these roles and would like to share your experiences and advice to aspiring professionals? Join the conversation below and let us know what’s on your mind!


Salary information contained in this article was updated based on 2016 data compiled by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and released in its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, as well as data and figures published on the National Careers Service website.

This article was originally published in January 2014.