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Practice manager average UK salary is just under £50,000, finds our pay survey

by Rima Evans
23 January 2024

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The average annual salary of a full-time GP practice manager is £48,802, a survey from Management in Practice launched today has revealed.

Taking into account both full-time and part-time workers, the average UK salary for a practice manager is £43,717.

The pay report, Practice Manager Salary Survey 2023/24: gauging the state of the profession, is Management in Practice’s first ever report on pay.

Based on a survey of 975 practice managers in permanent roles in UK surgeries (excluding those that are partners), it provides an in-depth look at pay levels, bonuses, pay rises, employee benefits, job satisfaction and the roles and responsibilities the practice manager job covers.

The report highlights how variable pay is for practice managers – salaries range from under £20,000 to more than £100,000 (for both part-time and full-time workers).

Pay is also determined by affordability more than market rates or other factors at two fifths of practices (see also box below).

The biggest group (34%) reported earning between £41,000 and £50,000 a year.  A third (31%) are on salaries lower than or at £40,000.

Only 1% are on a salary of between £81,000 and £100,000.

The report analyses full-time pay in different areas and devolved nations. In Scotland, practice managers earn on average £51, 438; in Wales £47,261 and in Northern Ireland £47,286.

Those based in the South East of England earn the highest average salaries, while those in the North West and North East England earn the lowest average salaries.  

When it comes to pay rises, more than three quarters (77%) said they received an increase in the last year (though it should be noted the timing of the survey pre-dated the Government’s announcement about the 6% pay uplift for practice staff for 2023/24).

Of that group, the majority (61%) received a rise of between 2% and 5%.

‘Given the cost-of-living crisis, the fact that almost a quarter (23%) weren’t awarded a pay rise at all is significant. It may be a painful side effect of the growing pressure on practice finances,’ the survey report said.

Meanwhile, the findings also highlighted a sizeable 42% of respondents receive a monetary bonus in addition to basic pay.

Half of that group  (52%) said the value of their bonus was linked to salary. The amount received varied,  with 61% reporting their bonus was worth between 6% and 15% of their base salary. Some receive variable, non-fixed bonuses.  

Those who are paid a bonus often have it linked to financially-driven targets, such as practice profit levels, QOF achievement, or contract performance, for example, on local enhanced services.

Just under a third (31%) are rewarded for non-financial performance indicators, such as for recruitment, new projects and efficiencies.

 Liz Willett, Chartered MCIPD, head of business partnerships at Kraft HR Consulting Ltd, said the survey results show that bonuses are becoming a more common component of practice manager reward.

She acknowledged that they can often be regarded as an uncomfortable concept within primary care but said they have their place.

‘They can be a great way of giving an individual a non-consolidated pay rise to help control pay drift or reward performance in a year where financial performance is unusually high.

‘Bonuses are also often used to recognise unusual circumstances or one-off targets, for example, working during Covid; moving buildings; taking on a new practice; or completion of a specific project,’ she explained.

There will be more coverage of the main findings from our Practice Manager Salary Survey 2023/24 report, including the link between pay and job satisfaction and insight into benefits packages, over the next couple of weeks.

You can download a full PDF of the report here.

How pay is determined in practices

When asked about the methods their surgeries use to set practice manager pay levels, it was found that at just over fifths of  practices(42%), it’s mainly decided by affordability. However, skills, market rate and years of experience also have an influence, as the findings show below.

What methods does your practice use to decide on practice manager pay levels?

  • It’s set at what the practice can afford regardless of market rates or other factors (42%)
  • It’s takes into account the level of specialist financial skills the practice manager can offer, such as knowledge of QOF and the GP contract (28%).
  • It’s based on the practice manager’s number of years of experience  (26%).
  • It’s takes into account prior management experience (25%).
  • The practice gathers information about market rates via the PCN/ ICB or any other means (25%).
  • It takes into account the level of specialist IT skills the practice manager can offer, such as having experience with the surgery’s clinical system (21%).
  • Meanwhile, 13% said they didn’t know how pay is set. 

Read our guide, Steps for determining your practice manager’s pay in Section 8 of the Practice Manager Salary Survey 2023/24 report