17th December 2014
The starting salaries of UK professionals are among the lowest of Europe’s top economies at an average of £27,199 per year – less than half that of Switzerland where the average is £66,671.
The study, by Towers Watson, found that UK entry-level pay was 13th out of Europe’s top 15 economies, but that it had improved somewhat since the previous year, overtaking Spain and Italy.
For middle-managers, the UK ranked higher, in 7th place, with an average of £72,524, but this still lagged considerably behind the top-paying country, which was Switzerland again, where the average was £115,826.
Darryl Davis, senior consultant in Towers Watson’s Data Services team, said: “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.
“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.”
The report also considered how much buying power employees in each country have, once tax and cost of living are factored in.
When these measures are taken into account, the salaries for UK employees appear more competitive.
Due to lower taxes and cheaper living costs than in many other European countries, entry-level professionals in the UK move up to 6th and middle managers climb to 4th place in terms of relative wealth, above France, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy in both cases.
Swiss employees consistently top the pay tables across all job levels with salaries over 20% higher than even the second-placed countries.
As a result, even when taxes and cost of living are taken into account, Swiss workers still enjoy higher buying power than other Europeans.