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Due to the nature the public sector, salaries vary quite a bit, but as a graduate you can expect to earn a minimum of £20,000. Some more specific figures are given below as well as additional benefits you may receive as part of your salary package or how your salary may progress as you go up the career ladder.

For some public sector professionals, salaries will be ‘banded’. The role you take will be within a certain salary band, which indicates how much you should be paid.

Basic salaries

Within Civil Service organisations, the pay and benefits structure is formulated by each individual organisation. This is different from other public sector workers such as the NHS or teaching which are subject to national pay arrangements.

Starting salaries for the Civil Service Fast Stream programme are between £25,000 and £27,000, progressing to £45,000 after 4-5 years. Whilst starting salaries on the NGDP are £22,958 as of 2012. In addition to this there is a London allowance.

The DfID grad scheme starting salary is £22,000 pa (pro rata) and the UN offer entry level salaries of between US$37,000-80,000 for specialists.

For those joining MI5, salaries start at £24,750 rising to £27,250 for Internet/computer and IT security specialists.

The Royal Navy (if you have over 180 UCAS points) offer £28,216 and golden hello of £5,000 for those of you who wish to become a submariner (paid on completion of training). If you have under 180 UCAS points, starting salaries are £16,277, and again a golden hello of £5,000 for those who want to become a submariner.

Within the NHS, salaries are as follows:
Entry level positions fall between Band 1-5 depending on your qualifications

Band 1 £13,903-14,614
Band 2 £13,903-17,003
Band 3 £15,860-18,827
Band 4 £18,402-21,798
Band 5 £21,176-27,625

Salaried dentists can expect to earn between £37,714 and £80,874

As a newly qualified teacher you can expect to get a different package depending on your location: London fringe: £22,626 to £32,588; Outer London: £25,117 to £35,116; Inner London: £27,000 to £36,387; and the rest of England and Wales: £21,588 to £31,552.


Senior Civil Service staff have been under restrictions on pay due to the economic conditions we are facing. For those within Band 3 the median salary is £133,000; Band 2 is £100,000, Band 1A the median salary is £84,078 and Band 1 the median salary is £73,421.

In the healthcare higher level positions usually start at Band 6. Senior consultants will command higher salaries depending on the type of work they do.

Band 6 £25,528-34,189
Band 7 £30,460-40,157
Band 8a £38,851-46,621
Band 8b £45,254-55,945
Band 8c £54,454-67,134
Band 8d £65,270-80,810
Band 9 £77,079-97,478

Consultant dentists can expect to earn between £74,504 and £100,446.

Teacher salaries can be very good as you progress through to management. For headteachers salaries can be as high as £105,097 (min= £42,379). Advanced skills teacher salaries are between £37,461-56,950.

Other benefits

The public sector has traditionally offered a really good pension package, however it is currently undergoing some changes. The pension scheme is likely to remain competitive but with a population which is getting older, changes in policies may occur.

Some departments and organisations will offer a combination of flexible and part-time opportunities as well as a crèche service, holiday play schemes, childcare assistance, season ticket loan, the use of sports facilities, generous holiday allowance, maternity/paternity leave and language training courses.

Differences in salaries

Similar to other sectors, healthcare professionals receive an extra ‘allowance’ when working in or near London due to the higher cost of living. Differences may be inner London: £4,036 -6,217; outer London: £3,414-4,351; and fringe: £933-1,616.

Teachers also see a difference in pay depending on location i.e. inner London head teachers can receive up to £112,181.

Source: NHS Career website; 33rd Report of Senior Salaries 2011 by Review body of senior salaries; websites for each programme, TDA.

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