How Do Your Career Choices Affect What You Earn Today, and in 15 Years’ Time?

When choosing what profession to pursue, starting salary will be a big consideration for many people. However, very few of us go into a profession really understanding what we can expect to earn 5, 10 or 15 years into a career.

New statistics published by free salary benchmarking service compare how the average salaries of different professions increase with experience, and highlight some remarkable trends.

Few will be surprised that finance and legal professions offer the highest salaries at all levels of experience. What is more notable is how average salaries in local government, accounting, marketing, HR and media vary by just £5k (less than 16%) for executives with less than 5 years’ experience, but 15 years into a career the difference between media and local government is as much as £63k, with media executives earning 87% more.

The stats also reveal at what point of their career executives can expect to receive the biggest pay rises. Marketing, media and accounting professionals get their biggest percentage increases after 5 years’ experience (75%, 83% and 67% respectively), while HR professionals see an 85% increase when they reach 10 to 15 years’ experience. In the charity sector average salaries are typically the lowest of the professions compared, which might be expected given the nature of the businesses. However, the stats reveal a huge step up for executives with over 15 years’ experience, usually taking up the top charity management roles.

CEO of, Thomas Drewry said: “Of course money isn’t everything, but the lack of transparency in pay makes it very difficult for individuals to make informed decisions at every stage of their career. Whereas local government roles might often be seen to offer good benefits like pensions and holidays, bonuses play a much bigger part in professions that are judged on performance, and these bonuses only increase as people move higher up in an organisation.”

The study was conducted by leading salary benchmarking website, a platform leading the transparency revolution to give thousands of employees free access to detailed market information, empowering professionals to make better informed career choices. The data has been submitted anonymously and securely by over 40,000 individuals spread across hundreds of different professions, sectors and locations, in order to access free in-depth personalised reports about how their pay compares to peers in their industry and elsewhere.