Just shy of 25 and unemployed (does working behind a bar count?) it’s come to light, how little I’m worth, upon facing the reality that all my mates are bona fide professionals and earning a fairly decent wedge! Among them, there are: a couple of lawyers, a handful of engineers, a disillusioned (and largely dysfunctional) nurse, a scientist, some teachers and a few IT guys. But how much do they get paid?

Naturally your pay packet varies from region to region, for it has to reflect the cost of living. This is shown particularly in London and other inner city areas where the wages tend to be higher. The latest evidence on regional pay shows that Londoners earn an average of ?520 a week before tax, far greater than the UK average of ?400.

Those in the South East have the second-highest pay packets – ?423.20, with workers in the North East earning the least with ?349.60. Weekly wages in Wales are also well below the average at ?353.60 and in Scotland the average take-home pay is ?364.90. The average annual salary in the UK before tax is ?20,919.

How much is the Prime Minister good for annually? To be honest the figure surprised me, in my naivety I was expecting it to be much lower. However according to The Commons website for the year 1st April 03 – 04, Tony Blair received ?178,922 with his cabinet taking home approx ?130,000 each. Equally the leader of the opposition banks a tidy sum of approx ?124,000. Interestingly Cherie Blair earns more than her husband. As a Queen’s Counsel for the law firm Matrix Chambers she reportedly earns ?250,000 a year.

But how much does the average Joe get paid?

Sitting in Brixton library and browsing through the ‘Connexions’ manual of occupations for 2004 was an eye opener… Selecting random professions from the list I learnt a little of the following:

GPs earn around 56k annually although this figure varies depending on the area and amount of services offered. A midwife can expect to begin on 17k increasing to 30k with experience.

A dentist working for the NHS earns roughly 106k a year.

An interpreter within an international organisation such as the European Commission is paid handsomely anywhere between 35-70k a year.

A beauty therapist begins roughly on 9k rising to 16k. Models can earn anywhere between ?50-?500 a day whilst those at the top of their profession charge thousands a day. Similarly, sports professional’s wages tend to be sky high, with money earnt through appearance fees, prize money and advertising.
Editors on local papers earn very little compared to their regional and national counterparts. Earning 15k, 35k and 100k+ respectively. And actors in the West End command a minimum of ?290 a week, with bigger stars receiving more.

A chat with a Macdonald’s employee revealed pay is roughly ?4.80 p/h, those over the age of 20 can expect more. Similarly a supermarket checkout employee can expect a starting wage of approx ?5.70 hourly, increasing during unsociable hours and Sundays.

But back to my mates, how much do they earn? The solicitor working in corporate law earns 34k annually during his 2 year training period, once qualified this rises to 60k. Apparently this is top dollar, an average City law firm pays 40k. My friend, the newly qualified teacher earns 20k, another takes home 21k working in accounts at Channel 4. The engineers receive between 20 and 22.5k a year. A probation officer earns 21k upon qualification (she assures me she’s not in it for the money!) The nurse declined to answer…

And me, I earn ?5 p/h… I spend my working hours chatting, checking out potential totty and watching the good folk of Clapham get drunk… It’s all good!

See the breakdown of minimum wages at the DTI website.