What software engineers earn in London UK

How Much Software Engineers Earn in London

Why taking your software engineering skills (and earning potential) to London is a great idea

With a job skill as coveted as software engineering, it’s only natural for developers to wonder how their salaries stack up against the average—and how their earning potential differs from city to city. For those aspiring to move or live in the UK, what sort of compensation do software engineers earn in London, for example?

For software engineers in the UK, London is undoubtedly the epicenter of tech in the country, despite a number of other cities (like Manchester and Bristol) vying for top spots. In this article, we’ll examine how much software engineers earn in London, as well as some other considerations beyond salary that might factor into your career decisions.

What software engineers earn in London Post-Brexit vote

Investment into UK companies doesn’t seem to have felt the impact of the Brexit decision, with European investments into British tech companies reaching a record high in 2018. Tech giants are also doubling down on Europe’s unicorn capital, with Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple all investing in office space to house their growing London workforce.

Tech salaries have likewise been growing since 2016. According to Hired’s 2019 State of Salaries Report, the average tech salary in London was £62k last year, up £4k from the year prior and £5k since 2016. Software engineers fare even better than the average tech worker, with the highest-paid role in London (embedded engineer) earning an average of £71k in 2018. Blockchain and data engineers earned the second and third most, perhaps unsurprisingly given London’s emphasis on fintech: 

  • Embedded engineer: $90K (£71K)
  • Blockchain engineer: $89K (£69K)
  • Data engineer: $87K (£68K)
  • Machine learning engineer: $87K (£68K)
  • Search engineer: $86K (£68K)
  • Security engineer: $86K (£67K)
  • Natural language processing engineering: $84K (£66K)
  • Gaming engineer: $81K (£64K)
  • Backend engineer: $80K (£63K)
  • Full-stack engineer: $77K (£61K)
  • Mobile engineer: $75K (£58K)
  • Frontend engineer: $73K (£57K)

When compared to other UK cities, London salary averages across the board are undoubtedly the highest. Taken together with job and investment growth—not to mention a blossoming tech ecosystem—London is a compelling option for technical talent in the UK and beyond.

There’s no doubt that Brexit has created uncertainty for companies and employees alike. However, there’s good evidence London will continue as a center for innovation in the UK as well as a tech hub for continental Europe.

Related: Check out updated data in the 2021 State of Tech Salaries Report

Cost of living factors for tech engineers in the UK

While London workers tend to fare better than people in other UK and European cities in terms of salaries, keep the cost of living in mind. 

London has historically been known as a relatively expensive city, but it’s certainly not world-leading in terms of cost. The cost of living in London (based on consumer prices and rent), for example, is about 30% less than in San Francisco. 

When compared to Paris, where tech salaries are significantly lower (nearly $20k less in 2018), rent prices are higher in London—but consumer prices for things such as groceries are actually lower. 

In deciding where to look for jobs, in the UK or abroad, account for the cost of living based on your lifestyle decisions. Factors such as whether you eat out or in and commute impact your monthly costs. (And how far you can stretch your paycheck.)

Check out Hired’s Updated Salary Calculator Tool

Salary averages as a guide, not a limit

Average salary numbers can be helpful to get a sense of your earning power, but don’t limit yourself by averages if you think your skills are worth more. Use market-specific leverage points to create a strong case for negotiating the salary you want: For example, you might consider citing the “chronic deficit of tech skills” in London to highlight how difficult it is to find skilled engineers. 

In addition, consider ways you might make your profile more attractive to potential employers. For example, take London’s focus on fintech as well as a booming global demand for blockchain engineers. Those interested in blockchain may look for roles specifically requiring those skills rather than generalist roles. Avoid a focus area based solely on salary prospects, but play up skills and experiences related to what interests potential employers.

Ready to take your software engineering skills and earning potential to the UK?

With Hired, top companies in London apply to you and many provide large relocation packages, if needed. More London companies are open to remote roles than ever before, too. Visit Hired today to create a free profile and add London to your location preferences.