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AAT members’ salaries rise at every level in latest Salary Survey

AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) has published the results of its latest Salary Survey, showing an increase in AAT members’ average basic salary at every level.

The Salary Survey is published every two years and provides information on remuneration packages for AAT members – including students, affiliate members and professional members (MAAT and FMAAT) – and AAT Licensed Accountants. This year’s survey also takes into consideration the impact that coronavirus (Covid-19) has had on AAT members, as well as looking at the overall economy and other key factors that matter to members at each stage of their working lives.

The report shows that AAT members’ average basic salaries have risen at every level since the 2019 survey, ranging from a median figure of £21,000 for Level 2 and 3 students to a median figure of £40,000 for FMAAT members. Salaries for students have increased the most, by 10%, whilst affiliate members’ salaries rose by 4% and MAAT and FMAAT members’ salaries by 9%. Additionally, 32% of members received a bonus within the last year.

Whilst at student and affiliate levels female AAT members out-earn their male counterparts, among professional members men earn 8% more than women, up from 5% in 2019. Men were also more likely to see a salary increase, with 54% of men working full-time getting a pay rise compared to 48% of women. There is also a gender pay gap amongst licensed members, with men working full-time earning £82,000 on average compared to £48,000 for women. Male licensed members are also likely to have more than 100 clients (64% of men compared to 36% of women).

Job satisfaction remains high

Members are also positive about the benefits of AAT accounting qualifications, with 80% saying that this has increased their earnings potential. Job security and satisfaction remains at a similar level to 2019, with 78% of members planning to stay with their current employer either in the same job or seeking promotion. Over three-quarters (76%) are very or quite satisfied with their jobs and 85% say they feel very or quite secure in their role, including 73% of members who were placed on furlough.

Although among AAT Licensed Accountants who are self-employed and work full-time, practice fee income has dropped by 4%, this group reported the highest job satisfaction levels of all members at 90%. 91% of those surveyed also said they felt secure in their current job, and AAT Licensed Accountants who are both employed and self-employed were more likely to feel secure in their self-employed work (81%) than in their employed work (77%).

Pandemic impact less than expected

Additionally, 41% of AAT Licensed Accountants had taken on more clients since March 2020, compared to 17% who had lost clients, suggesting the Covid-19 pandemic may be having less of a negative impact on licensed members than expected.

However, the pandemic has affected the working hours or salary of a quarter of members surveyed, with the majority of those affected (61%) being furloughed. Meanwhile, 40% of licensed members reported an increase in their working hours and 42% said their work/life balanced was worse than before the pandemic. Only 11% reported a decrease in client spend since March 2020, compared to 24% who reported this had increased.

The report also revealed:

  • The not-for-profit sector remains the highest paid on average for AAT members, with an average full-time salary of £26,000, whilst members working for micro-companies have seen the highest increase in average salaries since the 2019 survey
  • London is the highest-paid region for AAT members, while the North East and North West have the lowest average salaries across the UK
  • Members in the North East have the highest job satisfaction of those surveyed at 79%, whilst only 62% of members in London say they are very or quite satisfied
  • The top three company benefits desired by AAT members were flexi-time (60% of respondents), private health care (55%) and paid time off to study (52%).

Andrew Williamson, Director of Marketing and Commercial, AAT, said, “It’s great to see that average salaries have increased for AAT members at all levels since the previous Salary Survey. This highlights the value of accounting technicians and bookkeepers to business, and recognises the benefits that AAT qualifications provide for both individuals and their employers – particularly during these turbulent times. As we emerge from the pandemic and look to rebuild the economy, it’s clear that more businesses are looking towards qualified accountants to help them navigate a rapidly changing world.”

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