Jeremy Hunt: £100k 'not a huge salary' in constituency - exploring high-paying vs. 'normal' jobs

The UK’s median gross annual earnings for full-time employees was £34,963 in April 2023
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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has appeared to reaffirm his belief that an annual income of £100,000 is “not a huge salary” for residents in his constituency, despite facing criticism from opponents who accused him of being out of touch.

Hunt maintained that this amount “doesn’t go as far as you might think” in South West Surrey, but appeared to rule out a review of childcare funding to benefit higher-earning parents in this Parliament.

Over the weekend, Hunt faced ridicule for his assertion, shared on social media platform X, regarding discussions he had with constituents in his role as an MP.

Asked whether he regretted the post, he told Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips: “What sounds like a large salary – when you have house prices averaging around £670,000 in my area and you’ve got a mortgage and childcare costs – it doesn’t go as far as you might think.

The UK’s median gross annual earnings for full-time employees was £34,963 in April 2023, according to the Office for National Statistics. Labour said his claim revealed how “desperately out of touch” the Tory Government is with working people.

“The overwhelming majority of working people in this country would dream of earning that, yet they are all being made to pay the price of 14 years of Tory failure,” shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth said.

“It is staggering for the Chancellor to complain about mortgage costs when it was the Conservatives who crashed the economy with their kamikaze budget and sent mortgage costs through the roof.”

But in the UK of 2024, which jobs can one reasonably expect to pay a salary of £100,000, and how do these roles compare with the pay of 'normal' jobs like teachers, nurses, shop assistants, and delivery drivers? Here is everything you need to know.

Which jobs pay £100,000 salaries?

In the landscape of the UK job market, a £100,000 salary represents a significant milestone, often associated with high-paying professions that require specialised skills, extensive experience or managerial responsibilities.

Among the most prominent sectors offering £100,000 salaries in the UK are finance and investment banking. Positions such as investment bankers, financial analysts and hedge fund managers frequently command six-figure incomes.

These roles demand strong analytical skills, a deep understanding of financial markets, and the ability to manage high-stake transactions. However, they often also entail long hours, intense pressure and a competitive environment.

Lawyers specialising in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions or top-tier litigation can also expect to earn £100,000 or more annually. Partners in prestigious law firms, barristers with extensive experience and legal consultants serving major corporations typically fall into this income bracket.

Legal professions require advanced education, exceptional communication skills and the capacity to navigate complex legal frameworks.

Hunt claimed £100,000 'doesn’t go as far as you might think' (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Hunt claimed £100,000 'doesn’t go as far as you might think' (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Hunt claimed £100,000 'doesn’t go as far as you might think' (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Senior medical consultants, specialists and surgeons in fields like neurosurgery, cardiology and orthopaedics often earn £100,000 or higher.

Additionally, healthcare executives and managers responsible for overseeing hospitals, clinics or pharmaceutical companies can command similar salaries.

These roles demand extensive education, specialised training and a commitment to patient care, often involving long hours and high levels of responsibility.

With the increasing reliance on technology, IT professionals, especially those in senior positions like IT directors, software architects and cybersecurity experts, can attain £100,000 salaries.

Similarly, experienced engineers, particularly in sectors such as aerospace, oil and gas or software development, are also well-compensated. These roles necessitate advanced technical skills, problem-solving abilities and adaptability to evolving technologies.

Chief executives, directors and senior managers in large corporations or multinational companies commonly earn £100,000 or more. These positions involve strategic decision-making, organisational leadership and driving business growth.

While they offer substantial financial rewards, they often come with high levels of stress, accountability and the expectation of delivering results.

What do 'normal' jobs earn?

Despite being one of the most critical professions in society, teachers in the UK generally earn modest salaries compared to their counterparts in high-paying sectors.

While experienced educators or headteachers may earn respectable incomes, they rarely reach the £100,000 mark. Teaching requires dedication, patience and a passion for nurturing young minds, yet it often lacks the financial incentives seen in other fields.

If you have qualified teacher status (QTS), you’ll get a minimum starting salary of £30,000 (or more in London) as a primary or secondary school teacher in England.

Nurses play a vital role in healthcare delivery, providing compassionate care to patients in hospitals, clinics and community settings. But NHS nurses typically earn salaries that are considerably lower than £100,000, even at higher grades or with additional responsibilities.

The most common grade for NHS nurses is Band 5, which accounts for about 42% of nurses in England. That's the pay grade for newly qualified nurses as well as some more experienced ones. Their salaries range between £27,055 and £32,934.

Healthcare support staff, such as healthcare assistants and paramedics, also receive only modest pay despite their invaluable contributions to patient well-being.

Jobs in retail, including shop assistants, cashier roles and sales representatives, are essential for the functioning of the economy.

However, these positions often offer minimum wage (£11.44 per hour for workers aged 21 and over from 1 April 2024) or slightly above, making it "challenging" to reach a £100,000 salary.

While retail work provides valuable customer service experience, it may not provide the financial stability seen in higher-paying sectors.

Delivery drivers, couriers and transportation workers fulfil the critical task of transporting goods and people across the country.

But despite the essential nature of their work, these roles typically offer modest salaries, with few opportunities to earn £100,000 unless operating at the executive level in large logistics companies.

While these jobs provide flexibility and independence, they may lack the earning potential found in other industries. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a delivery driver is £29,894 per year in the UK.

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