Amidst the backdrop of high inflation, a recent analysis by HR and payroll software provider Ciphr has unveiled the top 10 jobs in the UK that have seen remarkable wage increases, surpassing the inflation rate over the past couple of years.

As the cost of living crisis persists, these findings shed light on sectors where workers have managed to secure substantial pay hikes, bucking the trend of stagnating wages across many occupations.

Between April 2021 and April 2023, UK inflation averaged a daunting 7.8 percent annually, translating to a cumulative surge of 16.2 percent.

Alarmingly, this surge outpaced the annual growth in hourly pay for the majority of occupations in the UK, leaving many employees grappling with financial strain. However, amidst this challenging landscape, certain job roles have managed to emerge as outliers, experiencing significant wage growth that surpasses the soaring inflation rate.

Ciphr’s analysis compared average median hourly earnings for full-time occupations across 2021, 2022, and 2023, using data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS). The study aimed to identify occupations that witnessed the most substantial increases and decreases in pay during this tumultuous period of the cost-of-living crisis.

Only 26% exceeded the inflation rate

The findings reveal that only a mere 26 percent of full-time job roles experienced hourly earnings growth exceeding the 16.2 percent inflation rate. Impressively, a select few occupations even saw their hourly pay surge by over 30 percent, far outstripping the rate of inflation.

Among the standout professions are publicans and managers of licensed premises, witnessing a staggering 38 percent rise in median pay, closely followed by vehicles and metal goods assemblers, senior officers in fire, ambulance, and prison services, and web design professionals, all experiencing significant wage hikes of 36 percent, 34 percent, and 31 percent respectively.

These increases are significantly higher than the average raise received by a typical full-time UK employee during the same period, which amounted to a more modest 11.8 percent. Notably, the average median hourly rate increased from £15.57 to £17.40, equating to approximately £33,930 annually. However, millions of workers earn below this average, underscoring the financial challenges faced by a substantial portion of the workforce.

Which roles saw wages rise above inflation?

Interestingly, many of the occupations witnessing inflation-beating wage hikes are not typically associated with high-paying roles. Occupations such as bar staff, waiters, web designers, and chefs have defied expectations, experiencing substantial salary growth despite their historically lower pay scales.

While these wage increases offer a glimmer of hope for workers amidst economic uncertainty, the impact of high inflation and soaring living costs cannot be overlooked. Despite the double-digit salary hikes, many workers find their wage gains eroded by spiraling living expenses, prompting some to seek additional sources of income.

Furthermore, while some professions have experienced commendable wage growth, others have not been as fortunate. Clinical psychologists, cyber security professionals, and legal professionals are among the occupational groups that have witnessed below-inflation salary increases, exacerbating financial pressures for workers in these sectors.

As the UK grapples with the repercussions of the cost-of-living crisis, these findings underscore the divergent trajectories of wage growth across different sectors of the economy. While some professions thrive amidst economic uncertainty, others face mounting challenges in maintaining their financial stability.






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.