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  • Accountancy and finance hardest hit by pandemic pay cuts
  • Marketing assistants bag the biggest pay rises of 2020
  • East Vs West of England salary divide identified

Research from specialist recruiter Randstad into the salaries of over 9,000 UK workers and data from 700 placed jobs, today revealed which job roles, industries, and demographics have come out on top in terms of salary post pandemic, and who has been hardest hit.

Pandemic pay cuts

According to placement data spanning across the UK and Ireland, taken from the 2021 Randstad salary guide, Irish finance professionals have been subject to the most significant pay cuts, per job title; Part qualified group accountant -8%, Finance manager -6% and Part qualified management accountant  -6%.

While Northern Ireland and Scotland saw specific job roles experience a pay cut, the East of England was the hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of remuneration, with 28% changing jobs, and with a pay cut, compared to just 14% in London. Shining a light on the demographics of job switchers according to 2021 survey results, nearly half (48%) of 55-64 year olds surveyed reported a decrease in their salary. 

Looking at fluctuations in pay per sector, those working in agriculture and transportation have seen the largest decreases in salary for new roles, with a reduction of income reported by 44% and 43% respectively. 

The surprise pay rise

Randstad’s Employer Brand Research (REBR), based on feedback from over 9,000 workers, recently revealed data suggesting the East of England was the hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of remuneration. 

The latest placement suggests that this may not be the case for the booming technology sector - developers and tech specialist roles have seen a comfortable 9% pay rise, with the East Midlands being the best place to be for qualified tech workers.

The same data set identified that The North of the country saw the greatest pay increase for office-based workers; with HR assistant salaries up by 6% in the North East and an average increase of 4.5% across the North West. Salaries for other HR-related roles have also increased by nearly 3% on average across the country. 

15% of Londoners, across all sectors, also received a pay rise of anywhere between £2,000 and £5,000, and 15% of those living in the city reported having a significant pay rise of over £30,000 when switching jobs. 

Best increase in salary per job role across the country

according to placement data.

Software Developer 9%
Marketing Assistant 7%
HR Manager 5%
Loan Admin 5%
Sales Manager 6%

Marketing assistants seek soaring salaries. 

2021 is proving that marketing matters. According to new salary data, fluctuation in pay for marketing assistant roles vary from a 1.5% increase to 13% in Yorkshire, to over 18% for newly qualified marketers based in the North-West of England. While marketing assistants enjoy the limelight, the rest of the nation’s marketing teams can take comfort and reassurance that their efforts are being recognised, with all function roles in the UK seeing an average 5% increase on 2020 figures. 

Adrian Smith, Senior Director of Operations, Randstad Said “With organisations over the past 18 months seeing a long list of changes — from new privacy policies, the accelerated digitalisation of brands, altered consumer behaviour due to the pandemic — marketers are working harder than ever, essentially, being asked to do more and with less. Acknowledging the importance of the central marketing function and the role it plays in supporting business objectives, the more junior marketers are getting the recognition they deserve.”

Regional disparities - East vs West

While placement data suggests that the East Midlands seems to show a boom in technology based jobs in this year, the West has seen higher than average vacancies, overall (up 11%) with the East falling to 2% below average. 

Contrary to the upwards trend in pay for tech workers in the East Midlands, Accountancy and Finance workers based in the West Midlands reported salary increases of up to 9%, year on year for Accounts Payable Clerks, and an average of 7% across all accounting roles. The East, however, peaks at  a 7% increase in 2021 for Credit and Collection Managers, but an average increase of only 0.7%.

Adrian said: “It’s certainly been an interesting time for the technology industry and it’s skilled workforce. Across all our technologies jobs surveyed, the East comes out on top with an average of 9% uplift on 2020 - from developers, to designers and software engineers, these key roles are all rising together. Conversely, in the West, and similarly across the country, figures are low if not negative. For the same jobs in the West Midlands, average salaries are posted at -2% since 2020. London, once seen as the tech capital, barely raises salaries by 0.2%. 

Although London will still offer higher salaries for the same job, the overall efficiencies are lower when cost of living is taken into account. Taking a software developer as an example, in the East Midlands, with an increase of 8.8% you can expect £44,700 at the top end of offers. In London, with a 0.3% increase on 2020, you would be offered £57,500 at the top end.” 


The Randstad 2021 salary guide offers the latest insight on how salaries have changed over the last year, ranging across the world of office roles within business support, technology and accountancy & finance.

Download the guide here.


Randstad is one of largest recruitment and HR service providers the world and is active in 38 countries.  In 2019, Randstad helped 2,000,000 candidates find a job with one of our 280,000 clients - training more than 350,000 people.  Randstad has approximately 38,000 employees and generated revenues of close to €24bn.  It was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands.  Randstad N.V. is listed on the NYSE Euronext (symbol: RAND.AS). 


Randstad UK helps organisations recruit the best talent and also offers flexible labour resource management and managed service provision (MSP) - enabling companies to streamline processes and reduce costs.  It employs 1,500 people, working in 150 locations across the country.  Randstad UK is particularly active in the public sector: Randstad Education provides teachers and support staff for schools and colleges, working with 5,000 schools, providing work for over 15,000 teachers and teaching assistants every week; Randstad Care provides nurses, care workers and qualified social workers for the public and private sector, delivering over 2,000,000 hours of care each year.  For more information, see