NHS basic pay
Last updated 8 August 2023 - see all updates
1. Main facts and figures
In May 2020:
- the average (mean) monthly basic pay for all NHS staff was £3,406 for men and £2,644 for women
- only staff from the Black ethnic group had lower monthly basic pay than White staff – Black men were paid 84p for every £1 paid to White men, and Black women were paid 93p for every £1 paid to White women
- monthly basic pay for medical staff was highest for the White ethnic group (£6,329 for men and £5,580 for women) and was lowest for the Black ethnic group (£5,041 for men and £4,465 for women)
- monthly basic pay for non-medical staff was highest for the White ethnic group (£2,721 for men and £2,503 for women) and lowest for the Black ethnic group (£2,324 for men and £2,361 for women)
- women from each ethnic group were paid less than their male counterparts among medical staff. This was also true for non-medical staff, apart from for the Black and Other groups, where women were paid more than their male counterparts
Between May 2016 and May 2020:
- monthly basic pay went up for every ethnic group – the largest increase was for the Mixed ethnic group (£3,049 to £3,412 for men and £2,350 to £2,643 for women)
- monthly basic pay for every £1 paid to White women went down for women from the Asian, Black and Other ethnic groups
- women from the Mixed ethnic group went from being paid less on average than White women to being paid more
- monthly basic pay for medical staff went down for the Black ethnic group (£4,798 to £4,784) but went up for the Asian, Mixed, White and Other ethnic groups
- monthly basic pay for non-medical staff went up for every ethnic group, but the monthly basic pay for every £1 paid to White female non-medical staff went down for female non-medical staff from the Asian, Black and Other ethnic groups
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
This data shows the average monthly basic pay for NHS staff working in NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups, and central and support organisations in England.
Basic pay does not include:
- extra pay for working unsocial hours
- geographic allowances like London weighting
- sick pay
- parental leave pay
The basic pay for part-time staff is worked out based on what their full-time salary would be. For example, if someone works 2.5 days per week and earns £12,000, their salary in this data is £24,000.
This data is based on mean basic pay, rather than median. The mean was worked out by adding all staff’s full time equivalent (FTE) pay, and dividing the total by the number of staff assignments.
Figures for average basic pay are rounded to the nearest pound. Figures for ethnicity pay gaps and gender pay gaps are rounded to the nearest pence. The data is based on the number of staff assignments, not a headcount of staff. This means that the same people may be counted twice if they have more than one role in the NHS.
‘Medical’ staff are doctors working for hospitals and community health services. ‘Non-medical’ staff include professionally trained non-medical staff (such as nurses and ambulance staff), those who support clinical staff, infrastructure support, managers and senior managers.
Although this data shows average monthly basic pay for the medical workforce as a whole, doctors’ pay varies substantially by grade. The number and percentage of staff in each pay grade and type of role (medical or non-medical) also varies by the different ethnic groups.
Read more about ethnicity in the NHS workforce.
Not included in the data
The data does not include:
- staff working in primary care, like dentists in dental practices and GPs
- agency staff and contractors
- staff who did not work the full month in the months covered in the data
The ethnic groups used in the data
The data uses the 5 aggregated ethnic categories from the 2011 Census:
NHS staff report their own ethnicity. Ethnicity was not known for 4.9% of NHS staff assignments.
You can read about the methodology (PDF opens in a new window or tab) for the publication.
You can find additional analysis of the data by grade and detailed staff group. This also provides data on total earnings, which includes other payments such as overtime, unsocial hours and bonuses (but not geographic allowances, such as London weighting).
In the data file
See Download the data for data by type of role (medical or non-medical)
3. By ethnicity and gender over time (all staff)
|All staff||Male staff||Female staff|
|Ethnicity||All staff Average pay (2016)||All staff Average pay for every £1 paid to White staff (2016)||All staff Average pay (2020)||All staff Average pay for every £1 paid to White staff (2020)||Male staff Average pay (2016)||Male staff Average pay for every £1 paid to White staff (2016)||Male staff Average pay (2020)||Male staff Average pay for every £1 paid to White staff (2020)||Female staff Average pay (2016)||Female staff Average pay for every £1 paid to White staff (2016)||Female staff Average pay (2020)||Female staff Average pay for every £1 paid to White staff (2020)|
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Purpose of data source
The data is taken from NHS human resource and payroll systems. This allows equality and diversity to be monitored across NHS staff.
5. Download the data
This file contains the following: measure, time, time_type, ethnicity, ethnicity_type, geography, geography_type, gender, type_of_role, value, value_type, pay_per_pound_paid_to_White_staff_by_gender and pay_per_pound_paid_to_male_staff_by_ethnicity