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Our 2018-19 update to the Workforce Pay Benchmark has revealed that the top earning Manual workers are Electrical Fitters. Nationally, employees in this skilled role have a median basic pay of £29,574, which is 17% above the median basic for all skilled roles in the survey.


It’s a supervisory role that tops the Clerical & Technical side, with Maintenance Supervisors across the UK receiving a median basic pay rate of £36,353, which rises to £38,000 once bonuses have been added on.

Our annual survey of more than 100 Manual and Staff roles in manufacturing, not only provides job-by-job pay rates on a national basis but also breaks down the data across seven regions. This year’s results cover over 30,000 employees across 334 companies and provide an insight into the trends that occur in the data regionally, by sector and by company size.



Scotland is the highest paying region across all Clerical & Technical staff, with a median basic pay figure across all roles of £27,282 (Northern Ireland has been excluded from the ranking as the sample is too small). This is 5% more than the UK median and over £3,700 more than the North West, which is the region at the bottom of the table. However you have to travel to the opposite end of the country to find the leading region for Manual pay. Manual workers in the South East earn a median basic rate of £22,949, which is 6% above the UK figure.

When it comes to the manufacturing sub sectors, on the Clerical & Technical side there is little difference in pay. The metals sector are just ahead of the pack with basic median pay of £26,855, with only a 6% gap between them and the worst performing sector (Other manufacturing).


Whereas for the Manual roles, the gap is much wider. The Electrical & Precision Products & Equipment sector has the lowest pay, with basic median pay across the UK of £17,974. You need to add on more than a third to get to the earnings in the top performing sector – Machinery – where the median basic is £24,600.


For both Clerical & Technical and Manual employees it’s those in the largest companies that tend to get paid more, whether you examine by numbers employed or turnover. In fact those employed in companies with a turnover of more than £250 million are getting an overall median basic pay rate that is in excess of £28,000.

Not forgetting the bonuses

So far we have focused mainly on basic pay rates, let’s not forget our report also gives total pay data (basic plus bonuses) and summarises the trends seen in bonus payments.


According to our 2018 report over 14,000 employees received a bonus, which amounted to more than £16 million.  Although a lower proportion of Clerical & Technical employees (44%) received a bonus compared to Manual workers (49%), on average they tend to accrue a higher payment (£1,500 versus £992).

Find out more

Click here to find out how you can get hold of a copy of this report.  Or to get in touch with the Research team to find out more about these results, or the other two benchmarks in the series, (the Professionals and Directors’ Pay Benchmarks) e-mail: [email protected].

Blog / Pay benchmarking