The average salary in London is a key economic indicator and subject of much debate and comparison. It ebbs and flows with time, as the markets change and short-term one-off opportunities occur. The median salary rate is used to determine the Living Wage, a recommendation for realistic salary, taking into account the cost of living.
Office for National Statistics
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Every year, among many other reports, it releases the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. This report describes, in some detail, the employment and salary situation across the United Kingdom as a whole, broken down by gender, position, age and region. This report is seen as unbiased and objective.
The UK as a whole
In 2012, in the UK as a whole, the median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees was £506, up 1.5% from £498 in 2011. This equates to a gross annual salary of £26,312. The proportions are slightly different between men and women, in that the average weekly salary for men across the UK was £546, while that of women was a much lower £449; 21% lower. Furthermore, when one takes into account part time jobs as well as full-time jobs, the UK average salary drops to £405 per week.
London is the UK's most prosperous region; the average salary for 2012 was £653 per week or £34,000 per annum. This is considerably higher than the Living Wage for London championed by Mayor Boris Johnson, currently standing at £342 per week. London's average salary is nearly 44% higher than the average salary in Wales, the UK's least prosperous region, for the same timeframe. In addition, the gender wage gap, while still high, is slightly lower than the national average at 19%.
London's average salary is ever in flux, especially in a fluctuating economy. While the 2012 median salary was 0.7% higher in 2012 when compared to the previous year, it was also the year of the Olympics and the Jubilee, both heavily London-centric events that brought revenue and increased employment. 2013 has neither of these great factors, so there is some expectation that the next estimate for London's average salary will be slightly lower than £34,000.