These are the best and worst jobs for a pay rise amid the cost of living crisis

With prices of everything from property to the weekly shop skyrocketing, many of us will be looking for a pay rise in the near future.

In some professions, however, the potential for a decent salary bump that matches inflation is somewhat limited.

According to new data by RIFT, certain jobs are likely to see big pay rises over the coming year – and they’re probably not the ones you’d expect.

The tax refund service analysed ONS earnings figures across different industries in the UK from 2021 onwards, using trends to predict future increases and decreases.

The highest earners all-round were (unsurprisingly) chief executives and senior officials with an average salary of £109,937, while cleaners came in bottom at £11,628.

Among the employees who made most were those in marketing, finance and information technology directors, medical practitioners, pilots and headteachers, with the worst-paid including kitchen assistants, retail cashiers, waiters and waitresses, bar staff, playworkers and lollipop men.

In the research, RIFT found that over 60 professions had seen wages drop in recent years, yet those on the lower end of the scale were often better off on an annual basis.

Authors, writers and translators saw the largest salary reduction of all, falling by 17.6% when compared to the previous year – a cut of over £6,000. Managers within the creative industries also saw a hefty drop of 17.1%, taking their yearly wage from £48,438 to £40,170.

Actuaries, economists and statisticians were third, taking a pay cut of 15.2% or £8,670, followed by travel agent owners and managers, insurance underwriters, and legal professionals.

On the opposite side, the workers set to see their bank balances grow most over the cost of living crisis were found to be hairdressers. Salon owners’ salaries grew 42.2% in a single year – a rise of almost £8,500 – so it may be worth dusting off your clippers if you want the opportunity to grow your income.

Bar staff have also seen one of the highest pay rises while pulling pints, earning 29.7% more on an annual basis (£2,025) and coming in second place in the ranking.

If you’re after the best of both worlds, not only do information and technology directors earn one of the highest salaries at £80,142, but they’ve also enjoyed a 27% pay rise year on year – the third highest of all occupations. 

Other roles where pay rises have been abundant include glass makers (+26.6%), sports coaches (+25.9%), barristers (+25.6%), youth workers (+25.5%), health care managers (+24.2%), beauticians (+23.6%) and travel agents (+22.1%).

Commenting on the findings, Bradley Post, MD of RIFT, said: ‘It continues to be an incredibly tough time for many where our household finances are concerned and with the dark clouds of economic uncertainty yet to lift, the last thing anyone needs is for their income to take a hit. 

‘Unfortunately, the figures show that many professions have seen a reduction in earnings, from crane drivers to dentists, bakers to engineers. 

‘However, this isn’t the case across the board and there are actually more professions who have enjoyed a boost to their pay packet when compared to the previous year. 

‘Of course, it’s unlikely that you would leave a higher paid job for a sector enjoying positive pay growth, but if you are working in a profession that has seen a reduction in earnings, it might be worth discussing a pay rise in 2023.’

Keep in mind, too, that these are averages. Regardless of the industry you’re in, don’t rule yourself out, build on your skills, and seek progression where you can.

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