Revealed: What the nation thinks different professions earn

New research reveals that Brits are drastically unaware of the salaries of some professions, with some perceptions off by as much as 30 per cent.

Brits on average think solicitors earn 20 per cent more than they actually do and journalists are perceived to earn over a quarter (28 per cent) more than their average salaries, according to a new poll by Oxford Open Learning.

The nation also underestimates the pay of other professions in some cases, with Brits thinking train drivers earn 32 per cent less than they actually do. Headmasters of secondary state schools are perceived to earn £26,192 less than their actual salary.

Distance learning provider Oxford Open Learning Trust carried out the YouGov survey of over 2,000 adults to discover people’s perceptions of the salaries different professions earn.

Of the fifteen professions surveyed, ten of their annual salaries were over-estimated.

Dr Nick Smith, courses director and founder of Oxford Open Learning Trust, says, ‘A previous study we carried out found that money is the biggest motivator behind changing careers, followed by better working hours and personal interest. However, the results of this survey show Brits are overestimating the salaries earned by many professions.

‘Among British workers, more than half (52 per cent) said that salary was an important factor when they chose their current job role. When it came to choosing a new career or job role, this figure increased to 68 per cent – suggesting that monetary incentives are key for choosing a new career.

‘Changing careers seems to pay off; over a third of British workers polled (34 per cent) that had moved to a new job role said they had an increase in salary after the first year of their new career.’

Distance learning provider Oxford Open Learning Trust created the Profession Picker tool to help adults thinking about a career change. Each year, the Trust serves learners that might need an extra qualification such as a GCSE or A Level in order to get their desired job and start a new career.

Further reading on salaries

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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