How much could I earn in my payroll career? 

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The demand for payroll professionals has exploded over the past few years, particularly experienced managers and consultants with a proven track record in directing a department.

This growing demand is fuelled by the continual change and complexity that defines the payroll landscape. Staying up to date and legally compliant with the latest legislation is an ongoing challenge that all businesses must contend with – and that means having a solid payroll department in place.

Fierce competition between employers is driving higher payroll salaries at every level of seniority, from administrators and executives to directors and team leaders. The increasing volume and diversity of job vacancies across all industries shows that there has never been a better time to pursue a payroll career.

Securing a payroll qualification


A solid payroll qualification is the first step to attracting the eye of businesses and recruiters. Given the increasing need for qualified professionals, it’s no surprise that more and more people are choosing to enroll in recognised payroll courses as a foundation for their career.

Below is a list of notable qualifications and their associated costs:

Payroll Technician Certificate (CIPP): ​£1295 + VAT This online course is geared towards people who are new to payroll and are looking to understand the fundamentals of the profession. It is an opportunity to develop knowledge and aim towards securing an entry-level administrator position.

The Payroll Development Award (CIPP):​ £1,195 + VAT This award is the natural continuation for those who have already completed the Payroll Technician Certificate. It offers more advanced knowledge and practical training on payroll systems. Those who complete this award are also able to progress directly onto the second year of the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management.

Foundation Degree in Payroll Management (CIPP): ​£2495 + VAT per year This is a three-year course aimed at aspiring payroll managers and team leaders. The course offers a more advanced understanding of payroll systems, penalty prevention and compliance issues. It is centred around practical assessments involving real organisations and the latest legislation. Student loans are available to all self-funding students in England who have not had a student loan previously.

MSc in Business & Reward Management (CIPP & Uni of Derby): ​£3799 + VAT per year This three-year masters degree is often viewed as the pinnacle of payroll qualifications. It is available to those who are looking to pursue director-level positions within an organisation. In addition to legislation and technical understanding, the course covers career development and strategic management. On completion, students are invited to be a Fellow member of the CIPP.

International Payroll Training Courses (GPA): ​£425 These course are perfect for professionals that want to build their payroll skills within a specific country or continent. Students have the choice to complete and online or classroom course, each being run by an experienced payroll consultant.

How much could you earn?


It’s encouraging to see such a wide range of payroll positions that are now firmly established as industry standard. As discussed, the level of salary that a professional may achieve is largely dependent on their experience and location of the organisation. Our ​latest national study into payroll salaries has revealed plenty of insightful information into the amount that professionals can earn at each stage of their payroll career.

At entry level, ​Payroll Clerks and ​Administrators​ can expect to earn around £20,000–25,000 per year in most UK regions; however, that figure may rise to as much as £27,000–33,000 per year in central London.

Professionals that manage to secure a role as a ​Senior Administrator or ​Supervisor are due for a notable increase in salary – often around the £30,000 mark for most regional businesses, and as much as £45,000 in London.

From there, there is quite a sizable leap in salary when we reach the level of ​Payroll Manager and Head of Payroll. ​Fully qualified professionals with proven experience in managing a payroll system can expect to earn around £50,000–£60,000 per year for regional businesses, and as much as £80,000 per year in London. The top bracket in the payroll job market is reserved for professional with specialist crossover experience in both payroll and HR, with some ​HR Directors earning well over £100,000 per year in central London.

Working with Portfolio Payroll


Our expert payroll recruitment consultants are here to source the very best payroll professionals that the talent pool has to offer. We work closely with candidates and companies to ensure we find the best people for the job.

Call us on ​020 7247 9455 ​(London) or ​0161 836 9949 (Manchester) for a chat, or email​ and we’ll get to work filling your vacancy.

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