Five sectors with the biggest salary increases in 2021

It’s no secret that job vacancies are booming right now.

With restrictions on many sectors now lifted, we’ve seen record numbers of roles added to over the last few months. A trend which shows no signs of slowing down over the summer. However, what you might not know is that salaries are also growing – increasing 4% year-on-year*, according to our data employers try to attract the top talent.  So if you’re looking for more money, now could be the perfect time to see what’s out there.

To help you find your next role, here are five sectors seeing the biggest salary increases so far in 2021:     


Customer Service

Number of jobs posted: 21,685 

Average salary in May 2021: £28,918 (vs. £22,854 in 2020) 

The sector with the highest overall rise in salaries so far in 2021 is customer service – by a considerable distance. 

In fact, customer service salaries are up 27% year-on-year, and up 32% compared to 2019. Perhaps indicating that it isn’t just the appreciation of those working within the industry during the pandemic that’s led to an overall rise. But instead, it’s an area where workers may have been underpaid for quite some time.

The biggest rises by individual position include Customer Service Assistant (up 12% year-on-year), Call Handler and Customer Service Coordinator (both up 9%), and Customer Service Manager (up 6%). 

So whether you’ve worked in the industry before or you’re just starting out, there’s never been a better time to find a career in customer service. 

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Social Care

Number of jobs posted: 33,509 

Average salary in May 2021: £29,027 (vs. £24,243 in 2020) 

If we’ve learned anything over the last 12 months, it’s that social care isn’t just an essential service for thousands of those living across the UK – workers in the sector were also incredibly underpaid pre-pandemic.

Luckily, employers have taken note, with wages increasing by 20% year-on-year across the sector. Salaries for Care Assistants (up 18%), Care Coordinators (17%) and Night Support Workers (up 14%), in particular, are continuing to grow. 

The sector is also crying out for more senior staff, with Senior Care Assistant roles listing salaries 89% higher than a year ago. 

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Health and Medicine

Number of jobs posted: 24,793 

Average salary in May 2021: £38,740 (vs. £32,581 in 2020) 

Much like social care, the world would be a very different place if it weren’t for our excellent healthcare workers up and down the country. 

Not only have they been putting themselves at considerable risk throughout the pandemic, many have also been vital in helping to implement our world-leading vaccination efforts. And, luckily, it isn’t just clapping they’re being compensated with.

Healthcare salaries rose by 19% in comparison to 2020, with Registered Nurses and Dental Nurses seeing the largest increases year-on-year (46% and 72%, respectively). 

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Hospitality and Catering

Number of jobs posted: 15,031

Average salary in May 2021: £26,888 (vs. £22,701 in 2020)

Hospitality was one of the hardest hit industries by the pandemic, with many venues unable to open for months at a time. However, optimism is certainly returning to the sector – as many of the UK’s top hospitality companies ramped up their recruitment over the last few months. 

The good news is that they’re also willing to pay well to get the right people, with salaries for hospitality and catering workers up 18% year-on-year and up 15% in comparison to 2019. 

Salaries for kitchen staff saw the biggest increase, rising by 43% year-on-year. Other jobs within hospitality and catering where wages have risen year-on-year include Hotel Manager (up 13%), Assistant Manager (up 12%), Chef De Partie (up 10%) and Housekeeper (up 7%). 

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Number of jobs posted: 14,989

Average salary in May 2021: £29,310 (vs. £26,758 in 2020) 

Finally, if you’re looking for a job in retail, you’re in luck.

With shops back open for business, and many needing to employ additional staff to help ensure their workplaces are COVID-safe, wages for retail staff have also been on the rise so far this year.

Up by 10% year-on-year, retail salaries are up a staggering 25% in comparison to 2019. Sales Assistants are seeing the biggest increase, with wages up by 26% over the last 12 months.

Those working in fashion (up 23%), Merchandisers (up 8%) and Team Leaders (up 5%) also saw significant rises too – showing that the retail workers aren’t just recovering post-pandemic, they’re thriving. 

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*All data taken from job postings on in May 2021 vs. job postings in May 2020 and May 2019. 

**Jobs posted between March and May 2021.