The South West of the UK is increasingly one of the most popular regions in the country. People looking to move from London to a medium-sized city need look no further than Bristol, and those looking for greener pastures have any number of Somerset villages to choose from.

There are thriving industries with plenty of jobs in South West England. Some of the biggest sectors include tourism, port activity, manufacturing, and renewable energy, amongst many others.

So what is the average salary in the South West of the UK? How do the salaries compare to other parts of the country? What are the employment prospects? And how do living costs such as property prices measure against the pay packets?

We are going to answer all these questions and more as we jump into the average salary in the South West.

In 2021, the median annual salary for full-time workers in the South West of the UK was £29,080. This is just over £2,000 below the UK average, which was £31,285.

The average house price in the South West is above the UK average, which means that it is a relatively expensive region to live in when compared with the average salaries. However, the South West also has the highest employment rates in the country, meaning that there are plenty of jobs for the local population.

So let's find out how the average salary in the South West compares with the rest of the UK.

National statistics show that the median salary across the UK in 2021 was £31,285.

However, this takes into account London salaries, which are considerably higher than in other regions. The average South West salary of £29,080 was significantly less than the median London salary, which was £39,716.

After London, the next highest average salary was £32,810 per year in South East England.

When London is taken out of the equation, the South West has just below the median UK salary by region, which is Northern Ireland, where the average annual salary is £29,109.

Overall, the South West of England has the eighth highest average salary by region in the UK.

Wales, which neighbours the South West, has a slightly lower median salary of £28,506 per year.

North East England is the UK region with the lowest average salary, with a median annual income of £27,515.

RegionAverage salary in 2021
South East£32,810
East of England£30,867
West Midlands£30,000
North West£29,529
Northern Ireland£29,109
South West£29,080
Yorkshire and the Humber£28,808
East Midlands£28,416
North East£27,515

Source: statista

The South West has varied economic activity. The key sectors in the region are tourism, port activity, fishing, communications, manufacturing, and renewable energy. There is also a lot of documentary media activity in and around the Bristol area.

The value that industries bring to an area is measured by Gross Value Added (GVA). Tourism brings around £6 billion GVA to the area, and port activity around £16.4 billion, making them the two largest industries in the South West.

Bristol is the largest city in the South West. The economy of Bristol has historical roots in the sea and the city's ports which were integral to the proliferation of the UK slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. Much of the controversy surrounding Bristol's relationship to its dark past is still debated today.

The Bristol ports are less influential than they once were, but they still play an important role in the local economy to this day. Engineering and manufacturing are also big in Bristol, with aircraft manufacturing being one of the biggest industries in the city.

There are also many documentary media companies as well as IT services and financial companies. Bristol is also a popular tourist destination and has a thriving student population.

Bristol is well known for its arts scene and has produced musicians such as Massive Attack and Portishead, as well as the visual street artist Banksy.

When considering the average salary in different regions of the UK, it is also important to compare other living costs, namely average house prices.

In April 2022, the average house price in the South West of England was £318,610. This is higher than the UK average of £281,000 and even the average just in England, which was £299,000.

Overall, the South West of England has the fourth highest average house price of all the regions in the UK, behind London, the South East, and the East of England. When you consider that it has the eighth highest salary, it suggests that the South West is a relatively unaffordable region of the UK.

House prices in the South West have risen sharply in recent years. As more jobs have become remote, many people living in London have looked to the South West as a more affordable alternative. However, this increased demand has come with a rise in the average housing costs.

RegionAverage house price April 2022
South East£382,791
East of England£344,943
South West£318,610
West Midlands£242,145
East Midlands£237,904
North West£208,867
Yorkshire and the Humber£201,806
Northern Ireland£165,000
North East£155,215

Sources: and ONS

The South West has the highest employment rate for those aged 16 to 64 of any region in the UK, with a rate of 78.7%. This puts it significantly above the UK average of 75.5%.

Employment rates are a good indicator of how easy it is to find a job in a particular region. Although there are plenty of other factors that may impact employment rates outside of the number of jobs available, the employment rate offers a good barometer of the job opportunities in an area.

So if you are in the midst of a job search and want to move regions, then the South West could well be a good place for you.

RegionEmployment rate aged 16 to 64 years (%)
South West78.7
East of England78.3
South East78.1
East Midlands76.1
West Midlands75.4
North West73.3
Yorkshire and the Humber72.3
Northern Ireland71.2
North East70.2

Source: ONS

The South West of the UK has an average salary of £29,080, which is about £2,000 below the UK national average. However, once London is removed from the equation, the South West is close to the median figure of the rest of the country. The South West has relatively high house prices, which makes it slightly less affordable than other regions. But it does have the highest employment rate of all the regions in the UK.

With thriving industries, good job opportunities, and decent salaries, the South West has become an increasingly popular destination for people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of London and the steep house prices of the South East.