Salary - are you getting what you deserve?

The average basic salary of UK insurance industry executives in March 2000 (i.e. circa one year ago) was approximately £28,800 (median £25,000 - £29,999). ...

The average basic salary of UK insurance industry executives in March 2000 (i.e. circa one year ago) was approximately £28,800 (median £25,000 - £29,999). The equivalent salary for March 2001 is £31,300 (median £25,000 - £29,999) - an increase of 8.7 percent on the year. The average is skewed versus the median due to a limited number of `significant earners'. The breakdown of current basic salary (i.e. March 2001) across all respondents is presented graphically in figure 4.There is wide variation in the basic salaries of individual insurance industry executives. A large percentage of respondents fall into the salary bracket £25,000 - £29,999 (circa 17 percent). Nearly one in eight are earning a basic salary upwards of £50,000 per annum. Conversely, just short of 30 percent of respondents are earning less than £20,000 per annum. Do men and women `bat on a level playing field'? The current average basic salary for men working in the UK insurance industry is circa £33,000 (median £25,000 - £29,999). Women, on the otherhand, are paid an average basic salary of only £25,500 (median £20,000 - £24,999) - 22.7 percent less than their male counterparts. This is not reflective of any disparity in basic salary for an identical position within a company. This is merely a reflection of the proportionally different positions held by males versus females in the industry i.e. there are more females in lower paid administrative roles than males. Only 4 percent of female respondents have progressed into director level positions within their respective organisations versus 18 percent of males. A significant number of both female and male respondents occupy middle management positions (42 and 48 percent respectively).

Position within company Male (%) Female (%)
Administrator 11 25
Junior Executive 23 28
Middle Management 48 42
Director 18 4

What should you be earning at your level within your company? The current average basic salary, split by position held within an organisation, is revealed in the table below. As one would expect, there is a very obvious pecking order within companies per position held. There appears to be an approximate £3,000 `step-up' from administrative to junior executive roles. Likewise, there is almost a £12,000 increase from junior executive to middle management positions, and a £8,000 jump from middle management to directorate roles. There is only £1,000 difference in the average current basic salary of insurance brokers/intermediaries versus insurance company personnel (£30,200 and £29,200 respectively).

Position within company Current average
basic salary (£)*
Current median basic salary (£)
Administrator 21,100 17,500-19,999
Junior Executive 24,200 20,000-24,999
Middle Management 36,000 30,000-34,999
Director 44,000 40,000-44,999
Current average salary rounded to the nearest £100

What should you be earning at your age? Whether you are fresh-faced, starting out at the dawn of your career... or approaching the twilight, you need to be aware of your earning potential. Table E offers a guide to average basic salary broken down by age.

Age of respondent Current average basic salary (£)* Current median basic salary (£)
< 25 years 23,300 17,500-19,999
25 - 35 years 29,800 25,000-29,999
36 - 45 years 36,100 30,000-34,999
46 - 55 years 36,100 30,000-34,999
56 - 65 years 53,300 30,000-34,999

Current average salary rounded to the nearest £

What should you be earning in your region of the UK? The current average basic salary, split by UK region, is displayed on figure 5. As one would expect, the London average basic salary is substantially higher than in all the other UK regions - the London weighting is circa £6,000 versus the nearest `rival'. East Anglia, the North West and South East are `in-line' with the average UK current basic salary, £31,300.

Is your salary competitive versus the industry norm? One can conclude that `satisfaction' with gross salary, versus the industry norm, is divided. Overall, approximately 37 percent of respondents consider their gross salary to be in excess of the industry norm for their respective position. In direct contrast, 40 percent judged their salary to be below the industry average. Nearly a quarter of the respondents were unsure as to their `worth'. This table provides a breakdown of respondents' views regarding their salary versus the industry norm for a particular position.

Position within company Competitive gross salary versus the industry norm?
Yes (%) No (%) Don't know (%)
Adminstrator 28 52 20
Junior Executive 32 44 24
Middle Management 40 34 26
Director 48 36 16

There appears to be greater satisfaction with basic salary in more senior positions. Conversely, there is a proportionately higher level of dissatisfaction with current basic salary in administrative and junior positions. Is this reflective of the ambitious administrator or junior executive versus the older, wiser and more appreciative middle manager or director? Nevertheless, a large proportion of respondents, at all levels, feel they are falling short of their earnings potential.