How much you should be earning according to your age

If want to earn a lot be a banker. If you want to earn less work in PR


Our salary is something we don’t really talk about, you can’t casually ask your mate or colleagues what they make but it’s impossible not to wonder. Earnings will apparently start to peak once you turn 38, which gives you more than a decade to increase, double or even triple your salary.  The downside is that most of the work has to be done in your twenties.

The UK average wage sits at around £22,000, but this jumps up to around £34,000 if you work in London, with some sectors earning far more than others. Bankers will always earn more than those who work in media, but we looked at how much you should be earning depending on your age.

In your early 20s

The average salary here is somewhere between £18,000 to £20,000. When you’re working in finance, this is obviously inflated. Coming fresh out of uni as an analyst at a bank you can expect to be on £40,000 plus a lot of bonuses. Working at Goldman you can make £51,000 a year with extras of more than £20,000 if you perform well, all from the age of just 21/22.

Junior PRs can make anything from £18,000 the mid £20,000s, but this depends almost entirely on their industry sector. Retail tends to pay the most while working as a PR for a non-profit company often pays the least. Recruiters on the other hand can walk into a job with a £20,000 basic salary but can earn far above on commission.

If you work in the media it’s far more bleak. Trainee reporters can earn as low as £14,000 if you’re out at a regional, £18,000 in London or around £21,000 at a national paper.

This is also when lawyers start their training contracts, and as of last year the Law Society started recommending firms pay their trainees £20,000 in London and £18,000 outside the city.

Medical students on the other hand don’t earn anything at this point because they’re still training, and they won’t let us forget about it.

If you wear a suit to work, you probably earn more


As if being in your mid twenties wasn’t hard enough, you’re also expected to earn a higher wage too. The average salary of a PR in London is £37,500, according to Total Jobs.  The very nature of the job means they want young people with good ideas, so it’s not rare to become a senior executive well under the age of 30.

Four years out of university, a young lawyer can be earning as much as £100,000, as long as they can find the right firm to work for. If you’re in banking, this is where the real money starts. Making the jump to associate, you should earn six figures, somewhere in the region of £120,000.

Junior doctors’ pay is a pretty sore point at the moment, but it’s currently on £22,000 and could drop as low as £16,000 under new contracts being considered.

Those in media can expect their salary to creep closer to the £24,000 national average for journalism, moving into more senior positions.

Approaching 30

As well as getting married, having kids and experiencing a lot more back pain, this is where the salaries really start to open up.

The way to bring in the money here is to have got yourself a place on one of those fast-tracked grad schemes which promise to make you the Vice President of a bank in five years.  Frighteningly the theory is that your wage should have increased by 60 per cent at this point from where you started out.

If you really are a maverick, by this point you could be heading towards the position of high roller at a national bank. For context, the Bank of America pay their managing director £997,000 a year, while Japanese bank Nomura top this at £1.2million. Something to aspire to.

Sticking it out through medical school and the junior doctor years, a GP can be on £50,000 – and even more if they become a consultant. PR senior account managers can be on £40,000, £45,000 as an account director and £60,000 as a creative director. On the other end of the scale, senior recruitment consultants will make more than £30,000 as their basic salary but can earn even more commission, bumping this up by tens of thousands in some cases.