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What Is a Good Salary in London in 2022?

Written by, Bojana Atanasovska

Updated July, 4, 2022

London is an expensive city to live in and in general, you would need an annual salary of at least £45,000 to cover living expenses.  

However, the latest data puts the average salary in London at £39,700 a year, which is significantly lower than what you would need to lead a comfortable life in the city. 

In the article below, we will explain more about what is a good salary in London for singles, couples and families, and what jobs can get you to that level. Plus, we will take a look at how wages in the capital compare to the rest of the UK.

What Is a Good Salary in London in 2022?

As mentioned above if you want to make the capital your home, you need to aim for a salary over £45,000 a year. 

More specifically:

  • A single person living in London would need about £50,000 a year; 
  • A couple should be able to get by with £60,000 a year;
  • A family of four would need an average income of £70,000 to cover the cost of living in London.

Speaking of which…

How Much Does It Cost to Live in London in 2022?

Judging by the answers of people who actually live in the city, here is a breakdown of the most common costs. 

Housing

This is one of the biggest costs of living in London.

In fact, Londoners could end up spending as much as 23% of their monthly income on rent, the cost of which rises in direct proportion to the proximity to the city centre.

For instance, renting a family home costs about £3,100 per month in the centre and around £1,900 outside of it.

In Zone 1 or 2, rent can range from £1,200 (for a studio) to £2,400 (two-bedroom flat). Monthly rent for a one-bedroom flat in the centre costs around £1,500. You could pay less, but then you would have to commute for about an hour to get to work or meet friends in the centre. 

Just for comparison rent outside the capital is an average of £1,068.

Flat sharing is a considerably cheaper alternative and costs £400 to £500 a month, although this means that you would have to share the kitchen and common space with your flatmates. 

What about owning a home?

Average house prices in London can go up to £500,000, which is double the UK average of £251,500. 

What’s more, the median property price to median earnings ratio in the capital is 12.5, so an average Londoner would need 12.5 gross yearly salaries just to buy a medium-priced property.

Considering these prices, it is no wonder that there are over 10.94 million outstanding mortgages in the UK

Rent is not the only expense, though. Other monthly housing costs include: 

  • Utility bills: £350, including water, gas and electricity (around £160) and council tax, phone and internet— the latter is a must in the capital where 93% of residents have access to the net
  • Cleaner: Around £10 to £15 an hour.

Socialising & Entertainment

How much of your salary after tax in London should you expect to pay for a night out? Here is how much entertainment costs in the capital:

  • Going out for meals two times a week: £350-£400
  • Going out for drinks from time to time: 50 to £100 per night (this depends on how much one drinks but a pint can cost £6 in Zone 1, while cocktails can be £10-£12) 
  • Going out to the theatre: Around £77 for two (could be higher based on the seats you want)
  • Going to concerts and shows: £30-£100
  • Gym membership: £35-£50
  • Books, music, apps, streaming services and hobbies: £300
  • Occasional shopping: Around £250

Transportation 

Getting around the city can eat up a huge chunk of average London salaries. 

Owning a car

It costs over £3,000 annually to run a car in the UK, with petrol being the biggest expense. In addition to common car running costs, you have to factor in expensive parking (an average of £6.60 an hour) and the infamous London congestion charge (£15 a day). 

Public transport 

An Oyster card can set you back around £130 a month, depending on where you live and travel. Bear in mind that public transport may not be cheap, but it is very well organised, which means you can get around without a car, especially if you are single. 

Taxis are understandably more expensive. The minimum fare is £3.80 and prices can go up to £8 or £11.20 per kilometre (or even higher). 

Groceries

You can expect to spend around £350 on groceries a month, depending on where you shop. Groceries are more reasonably priced at discount merchants like Aldi and other cheap online supermarkets in the country, while some shops like M&S and Waitrose are typically more expensive. 

Going on Holiday 

With holidays being the most common reason for travelling abroad, it’s no surprise that Brits spend at least £4,000 a year on vacations across all age groups. 

However, thanks to cheap flights and sites like Booking.com and Airbnb, you could end up paying somewhere in the range from £1,000 to £1,500 for holidays abroad twice a year

Childcare

A childminder costs about £160 to £330 a week. 

On top of that, preschool at a private school can go up to £1,300 for the full day, while private school tuition can cost £10,000 to £23,000 a year, accounting for over half of the average salary after tax in London. 

Note: The average private school fee for the rest of the county is £13,700 a year

Savings

Ideally, you should have enough left over to put around 10% of your net salary into some savings account, such as a cash ISA or Stocks and Shares ISA

How Does the Cost of Living in London Compare to the Rest of the UK? 

London is definitely not on the list of cheapest places to live in the United Kingdom. For instance, the cost of living in the capital is 42% higher than living in Manchester. 

The cost of living in London is also well above the national average, as can be seen from the following figures:

  • A family of four: an average of £4,850 per month in London vs £3,500 across the UK 
  • A single person: an average of £2,892 per month in London vs £2,000 across the UK 

Here is how London compares to other cities in the UK and the world, according to Wise

1 bedroom flat in city centre Transportation 3-course meal for two
London£1,662£158£60
Edinburgh £828£57£60
Manchester£849£71£60
NYC, USA£2,321£95£73
Sydney Australia £1,422£116£54
Toronto, Canada£1,121£90£46

Did you know: Manchester is the best city to live in if you are a freelancer in the UK, based on work opportunities and living costs.

What is the Average Salary in London?

According to Statista, the average salary in London was £39,700 a year in 2021, the highest in the country. 

London Average Salary vs UK Average Salary 

Meanwhile, the mean average salary in the UK was £31,447 in the same time period. 

This coincides with government figures from April 2021 which put the weekly median income in London at £728, or £117 higher than the median for the entire nation. 

What is a Good Salary in the UK?

This depends on where you live as naturally more expensive cities like London would require higher income. 

However, in general: 

  • A couple in the UK can have a comfortable life on an annual salary of £27,340 
  • A single person should make ends meet with £20,383 a year
  • Couples with young children would need more, or around  £49,714 per year
  • Couples with older children should be satisfied with annual pay of £31,902.

How Much Do Londoners Make: Gross vs Net Salary?

Most workers in the UK are paid a gross salary, i.e. the money you earn before deductions, which may include national insurance, income tax, pension contributions and student loan repayments.

How Much Is Deducted From Your Pay Every Month?

National Insurance and Income Tax are the most common deductions made from your salary every month.

National Insurance contributions are required if you want to qualify for benefits such as the State Pension and they are mandatory for all working individuals who are over 16, make more than £184 weekly or are self-employed and make more than £6,515 in profit a year.

National Insurance contributions come out to 13.25% of your salary if you make £190 to £967 a week. If you earn more than £967 a week, NI contributions are 3.25% of your pay. 

Income Tax is paid on any amount you earn that exceeds your Personal Allowance (set at  £12,570 for the 2022/23 tax year).

The income Tax rate is divided into 4 brackets in the UK as displayed in the table below:

Taxable IncomeIncome Tax Rate
Personal allowanceUp to £12,5700%
Basic rate£12,571–50,27020%
Higher rate£50,271–150,00040%
Additional rate£150,001+45%

So, if you earn £50,000 a year, your take-home net salary will be £37,198 (after paying tax and NI). This means you are making £3,100 a month or £715 a week.

If you are interested in more information about tax and NI in the UK, read through this helpful guide. 

What Determines a Good Salary in London?

Let’s take a look at what is the average income in London and the UK based on your education level, gender, age and the industry you work in.

Education 

The average wage in London for graduates is £37,579 with additional cash compensation of £6,824, Glassdoor estimates.

Postgraduates naturally earn more—according to Totaljobs, the average salary for a person with a Masters or PhD is £47,500 and £57,500, respectively. 

The figures across the UK are slightly lower: 

  • No higher education above A level standard: around £25,000
  • Graduates: £34,000 
  • Post-graduates: £42,000

Gender pay gap (in London and the UK) 

Unfortunately, a gender pay gap is noticeable both regionally and nationwide. 

Based on data presented by Plumplot, in 2021 women in London earned an average of £43,500, while men made £61,400.

The average salary in the UK for women in the same time period was £33,200 as opposed to £41.5k for male employees.

Age 

As expected, younger people earn less than their elders as they are more willing to take jobs that pay less, such as apprenticeship and entry-level positions. 

Salaries go down after workers reach a certain age, though, with those over 60 earning £28,854 a year, or 7k less than the highest-paid generation of 40 to 49 year-olds. 

Industry

In the UK, finance and insurance provides the highest wages for workers with an average salary of £43,821. It is followed by the Energy sector (£42.5k) and Mining (£42.4k).

On the other end of the spectrum is the Accommodation & Food Services, an industry known for paying low wages—here the average salary is £22,779. 

In the capital, Finance and Banking is the highest-paying industry witn average salaries of £80,203. Next is Management & Business where London salaries average £76,688 and Law with average wages of £75,827 a year. 

What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in London?

Listed below are the top 3 highest paying jobs in the UK and the average London salary for the same positions.

#Job PositionAverage UK salaryAverage London salary
1Chief executives and senior officials£80,232£101,292
2Marketing and sales directors£74,950£111,741
3Legal professionals£74,580£104,000

What Jobs Bring in the Lowest Average Income in London?

The three lowest paying jobs in the UK by gross weekly pay are:

  • Bar staff: £301 a week
  • Smiths and forge workers: £303.7 per week
  • Waiters and waitresses: £314 a week

The level of experience also determines the average salary. Thus, entry-level jobs in London average around £32,500 across all industries, whereas senior executive positions get paid an average of £70,000, although, in reality, they could go up £100,000 and more, depending on your experience and skill set.

How Do Average London Salaries Compare to the Rest of the UK?

The table below shows the difference in salaries between London and the capitals of Wales and Scotland. 

London Cardiff Edinburgh 
Graphic designer£26,738£23,979£21,433
Copywriter £34,113£23,052£23,876
Cashier £15,483£12,057£14,387
Financial analyst£40,042£24,114£41,086
Software engineer£42,925£32,540£29,078
Web developer£32,664£19,883£26,423
Teacher£25,539£20,300£23,356

Bottom Line

Even though salaries in London are above the national average, they still fall short of the amount one would need to lead a comfortable life in the city. 

The cost of living in London is notoriously high, while the number of industries that have kept up with the rising cost of rent, food, and other essentials, remains low. So before you move to London, carefully analyse all living expenses and see if your salary can cover them.

                           

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

What are the highest paying jobs in London?

The highest paying jobs in London are typically in the financial or technology sectors. Investment bankers, software developers, and medical professionals usually have high salaries, as well. 

What are the lowest paying jobs in London?

The lowest paying jobs in London are typically in the service industry, including waiters, bar staff, and retail workers.

How does London compare to other major cities in salaries?

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in and although salaries are above average, they don’t always stretch as far, considering the living costs in the city. By comparison, New York City has a higher average salary but lower living costs, while Tokyo has a much lower average salary but higher living costs.

What is the average salary for a job in London?

The average salary in London is £39,700 a year. However, the amount you get can vary depending on your role and the industry you are working in.

If you plan on settling down in the country’s capital, it is advisable to go for jobs that pay more than £40,000 a year. Although to determine what is a good salary in London for your needs, you should calculate your living expenses first.

Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.