Thursday 14 October 2021 8:35 am

Salary slaves, follow the money: 2021's best and worst paid industries and the UK's fastest-growing sectors

Earlier this week, City A.M. revealed that private equity firms are prepared to pay junior staff with less than two years experience an average salary of more than £152,000, a jump of 52 per cent compared to two years ago.

For those with two to four years of experience, an salary of around £181,000 has become the sector’s average, a jump of 42 per cent over the past two years.

But what about the rest of the City, and beyond?

Today we can reveal the best and worst paid industries across the UK in 2021, thanks to data compiled and shared by cloud payroll provider Staffology, which has scrutinised which have been affected the most by Covid-19, and how salary gaps were affected as a result. 

Reviewing data of the average weekly pay by industries in the UK such as hospitality, transport, retail, and the arts, the most impacted industry for shrinking salaries was accommodation and food services (hospitality), taking a -3.59 per cent hit to salary between 2019 and 2020, shifting the salary from £260 per week to £251 per week.

Unfortunately, the industry still hasn’t recovered entirely, with the change from 2020 to 2021 being only +0.4 per cent, resulting in an extra £1 to payslips every week. 

The industry that noticed a surge in salaries during the pandemic was manufacturing, which includes textiles, leather and clothing, seeing a +4.66 per cent rise from 2019 to 2020, going from £430 per week to £451 per week.

The Office of National Statistics stated that online sales were reaching higher than usual levels over the course of the pandemic, with online purchases representing 28.5% of sales in October, compared to 20.1 per cent in February. 

Since 2019, the highest paid industry has consistently been financial and insurance, sitting at an average weekly salary of £1,463 in 2021, 13.5 per cent more than it was in 2019. 

Five highest earning industries in 2021

1.       Financial & Insurance Activities – £5,852 p/month 

2.       Mining and Quarrying – £4,844 p/month 

3.       Information and Communication – £3,904 p/month 

4.       Manufacturing – Chemicals and Man-Made Fibres – £3,536 p/month 

5.       Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities – £3,348 p/month 

Five lowest earning industries in 2021

1.       Accommodation and Food Service Activities – £1,008 p/month 

2.       Retail Trade and Repairs – £1,416 p/month 

3.       Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing – £1,652 p/month 

4.       Other Service Activities – £1,736 p/month 

5.       Manufacturing – Textiles, Leather and Clothing – £1,764 p/month 

“Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the world in multiple respects, however our analysis of the most recent government data highlights how it impacted salaries on a sliding scale,” commented Caine Bird, expert technical payroll writer at Staffology.

Despite reduced salaries over the past year, the industries that were hit the hardest by the pandemic – the arts, retail, and hospitality – have all experienced a growth in their weekly salaries during 2021.

“In fact, the arts were the second fastest growing industry in salary from 2020 to 2021, increasing by 11 per cent,” Bird added. 

Comparing the average weekly salaries of the last ten years and 2021 alone, the industries that have grown the most are education, financial & insurance activities, and administrative and support service activities.

Conversely, the three industries with the lowest growth rates are mining and quarrying, accommodation and food service activities, and transport and storage, all having grown less than 7 per cent across the decade.  

Fastest growing UK industries

As well as highlighting how the salaries of each industry compared, Staffology also found how the individual industries grew over the last year, as well as the five industries that have experienced the most growth since 2010.

The results show that industries such as education, financial & insurance activities, and arts, entertainment and recreation were three of the most dependable industries for growth. In context of salaries, financial & insurance activities saw the largest salary change, with an annual salary rise of £8,008 between 2020 and 2021.

Fastest growth this year

  1. Education: +18.43%
  2. Arts, Entertainment and Recreation: +10.99%
  3. Financial & Insurance Activities: +10.53%
  4. Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities: +8.96%
  5. Wholesale Trade: +8.56%

Slowest growth this year

  1. Manufacturing – Textiles, Leather and Clothing: -2.27%
  2. Accommodation and Food Service Activities: +0.4%
  3. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing: +0.73%
  4. Transport and Storage: +0.99%
  5. Public Administration: +2.1%

Five fastest grown industries in last decade

  1. Education: +26.45%
  2. Financial & Insurance Activities: +21.05%
  3. Administrative and Support Service Activities: +17.94%
  4. Arts, Entertainment and Recreation: +17.36%
  5. Information and Communication: +16.19