UK Bonus Pay 2018 – Which Workers Receive the Highest Bonuses?

UK Bonus Pay 2018 - Which Workers Receive the Highest Bonuses?
UK Bonus Pay 2018 – Which Workers Receive the Highest Bonuses?

How much incentive pay do full-time workers in the UK receive each year? Research collated from Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment breaks down the state of UK incentive pay in 2018 based on a collection of Office For National Statistics datasets.

A study into bonus pay in the UK has investigated which full-time workers are most likely to earn the highest bonuses with the results suggesting that the highest amount of incentive pay comes from male workers in the capital during the latter stages of their career. These are, according to the Office For National Statistics, “Incentive pay is the amount paid to an employee as a result of meeting a performance or productivity objective, including profit sharing, bonus, piecework and commission payments.” 

Regional differences in bonus pay

The regional difference within the UK for incentive pay is striking where a full-time private sector worker in London receives on average over three times the national average:

regional salary

The gender-pay gap

The gender pay gap is a big discussion point in the UK today and it looks to be just as much reflected in bonuses as it does in gross annual income. In 2018 the average full-time working male took home £2,613 in incentive pay, whereas the average female took home £1,158.

When broken down by both age and gender, the data points to the cause of the disparity; males between 40-59 tend to earn around twice as much incentive pay as females, taking home an average of around £3500 per year:

gender gap

Which job types earn the highest bonuses?

Aaron Wallis has also collated data from the ONS on bonus pay by job-type, defined by two-digit SOC code.

Corporate managers and directors take home the highest average annual bonus, with just under £8000. After this, professional services under business, media, public service and science tend to do well, averaging just over £2000 a year in incentive pay.


Private sector bonuses over the last 15 years

Using ONS datasets over the last 15 years, research from Aaron Wallis suggests that incentive pay in the private sector has still not completely recovered following the 2008 recession:

Rob Scott, Managing Director at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment said: “Particularly in private sector roles like sales or recruitment, incentive pay forms a key part of workers annual income and it’s important for both employers and workers to make sure they’re keeping up with the trends of bonus pay in the market.

Encouragingly, our research suggests that bonus pay is on the rise with average private sector bonuses seeing consistent growth since 2015, however, this is still a long way off the bonuses which UK workers were receiving before 2009.”

The study was conducted by Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, using data from the Office For National Statistics, analysing and combining different datasets published between 2004 and 2018. Data has been collected from the ONS’s Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), which for 2018 was published on the 25th October. Aaron Wallis’ write-up of the study was published on the 27th December 2018.

Using a sample size of 1% of earners on PAYE tax taken from HM Revenues and Customs (in real terms around 300,000 workers in the UK), the datasets from the ONS provide valuable and statistically significant insight into earnings of UK citizens.

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Hernaldo Turrillo is a writer and author specialised in innovation, AI, DLT, SMEs, trading, investing and new trends in technology and business. He has been working for ztudium group since 2017. He is the editor of,,, and writes regularly for, Hernaldo was born in Spain and finally settled in London, United Kingdom, after a few years of personal growth. Hernaldo finished his Journalism bachelor degree in the University of Seville, Spain, and began working as reporter in the newspaper, Europa Sur, writing about Politics and Society. He also worked as community manager and marketing advisor in Los Barrios, Spain. Innovation, technology, politics and economy are his main interests, with special focus on new trends and ethical projects. He enjoys finding himself getting lost in words, explaining what he understands from the world and helping others. Besides a journalist, he is also a thinker and proactive in digital transformation strategies. Knowledge and ideas have no limits.