Towers: UK moves up European pay leagues in 2014

31 December 2014 2 min. read

Wages of entry-level and middle manager professionals in the UK have increased in the past year, concludes research by Towers Watson, which resulted in the UK moving up the European pay ladder. Although salaries have increased, wages in the UK remain behind the European continents’ highest pays, as a result of which it will be possible for the UK to increase its wages while staying competitive.

The recently released ‘Global 50 Remuneration Planning Report’ by consulting firm Towers Watson is a benchmark planning report that contains the latest pay and benefits information for 50 key positions in 58 countries worldwide. The report has been designed to “help companies establish a consistent global compensation strategy and ensure compliance with local laws and practices.”

Towers Watson - Services

The 2014 edition of the report shows that in the past 12 months the UK has improved its position in the European pay league. Both the base salaries for professionals at entry and middle-manager level increased in 2014 compared to 2013. “The 2014 pay league tables suggest that UK employers are responding to certain pay pressures in terms of their base salary within the constraints of a challenging economy,” explains Carole Hathaway, Global Leader of Towers Watson’s Rewards Practice.

In 2013, starting professionals in the UK earned around £24,184 per annum (pa), with which the UK ranked last of the 15 European countries. In 2014, the same level professionals are earning £27,199 pa. With this increase in salaries, the UK surpassed Italy and Spain that both saw smaller increases in salaries. Just as in 2013, Switzerland is leading the pack in 2014 with a salary level of £66,671 pa, which is more than twice the pay an equivalent UK worker can expect, followed by Denmark (£47,677 pa).

Base salaries entry-level

The UK ranks higher in terms of its base-salary offering for middle-management, as it made the seventh place with a pay of £75,524 pa. This is an increase of more than £10,000 pa compared to 2013, when UK middle managers earned £64,832. With this increase in pay the UK now ranks higher than Ireland, Austria and the Netherlands. Again, Switzerland is ranked number one on the list, with salaries that are £43,000 higher than the UK, followed by Luxembourg, where middle-managers earn around £19,000 more than in the UK.

Base salaries middle manager

“While our latest gross salary data does show some positive movement for the UK, on the European level there still remains a considerable gap in gross salary terms between it and the Continent’s highest wage markets,” comments Darryl Davis, Senior Consultant in Towers Watson’s Data Services team. According to him, the differences in wages are not to be perceived as something negative. “For the economy as whole, though, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it means UK wages are able to grow in a healthy way while remaining competitive in cost terms versus other Western European economies.”