Entry-level employees in the UK earn a median gross base salary of £22,242, ranking 13th out of the top 21 European economies, according to research by multinational risk management, insurance brokerage and advisory organisation Willis Towers Watson.
Its Global 50 remuneration planning report, which features data on remuneration practices across 60 major economies worldwide, also found that middle managers in the UK typically receive a gross base salary of £58,833 a year; this ranks 10th out of the top 21 European economies.
When adjusted to account for taxes and local living costs, the UK’s entry-level professionals have a median relative buying power of £22,165, ranking 8th, while middle managers have a buying power of £42,690, which places 6th out of the top 21 European economies.
Hazel Rees (pictured), GB leader, rewards line of business at Willis Towers Watson, said: “The UK’s improved performance in the rankings, when purchasing power is taken into account, demonstrates the positive impact of a lower tax and cost of living burden on cash compensation in the UK compared to much of continental Europe.
“This approach is also a driver behind some common differences in reward design practised in the UK versus the rest of Europe, such as the use of car allowances instead of grants and the comparatively lighter use of voluntary fringe benefits.”
Switzerland has the highest median gross base salaries: £53,024 for entry-level staff and £97,929 for middle managers. For median relative buying power, this equates to £35,069 and £58,483, respectively.
Luxembourg also ranks highly, with entry-level employees earning a median gross base salary of £37,751 and middle managers taking home £75,501. In terms of buying power, this is £35,270 and £57,522.
In Germany, entry-level staff have a median gross base salary of £36,151, and buying power worth £28,104, while middle managers receive a base salary of £72,352, which equates to a purchasing power worth £49,297.
At the other end of the rankings are Slovakia and Poland. Slovakia’s entry-level employees earn a median gross base salary of £10,404, and its middle managers receive £31,822. This produces a median relative buying power of £9,805 and £26,150. In Poland, entry-level staff take home £10,388, with a buying power of £10,833, and middle managers earn £30,858, creating buying power worth £31,350.
Rees added: “If UK [organisations] are to stay competitive, available resources need to be better allocated in order to attract, motivate and retain their best employees as market conditions create increased competition for talent.
“While salary remains the main consideration for UK [employees] when deciding to join or stay with [an organisation], our own research shows that employers continue to fall short in how they deliver pay programmes, including base pay and bonuses.”