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Finance & accounting

Payroll manager

Payroll managers manage the payroll department within an organisation.

Annual Salary

£22,000 to £50,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm;

Future employment

There will be 3% fewer Payroll manager jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

You may:

  • supervise and train the payroll team
  • create payroll policies and procedures
  • advise on tax and pay laws
  • manage computer software and systems
  • analyse and report on financial data
  • check and audit payroll to make sure regulations are met
  • calculate and issue pay by cash, cheque or electronic transfer
  • deduct tax and national insurance payments
  • process holiday, sick and maternity pay and expenses
  • calculate overtime, shift payments and pay increases

Working environment

You could work in an office.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • specialist training with a professional body

You can do an introductory course in bookkeeping and payroll, which can be studied at a college or by distance learning. Courses include:

  • Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping
  • Level 1 Certificate in Payroll
  • Level 1 or 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping

You could also do a T Level in Accounting and apply for trainee payroll manager roles. You could gain further qualifications on the job, through part-time study or a higher apprenticeship.

With payroll experience you may then be able to move into a managerial position.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
For more information

Apprenticeships relevant to this role include:

  • advanced Payroll administrator
  • higher Payroll assistant manager

You may be able to work your way up from these apprenticeships, with experience, to a managerial position.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information

You could start as a payroll administrator and get training and experience on the job. You'll usually need several years' experience in payroll before moving into management.

Direct application

You may be able to join a payroll department if you've worked as a manager elsewhere, although you will need experience in accounts.

Other routes

You could take qualifications in payroll like those offered by The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals or the International Association of Bookkeepers.

Courses are available from introductory basics through to foundation degree level and higher. It's recommended that you're working in a payroll department to do the higher level qualifications.

More information

Career tips

You'll need a good understanding of payroll legislation.

Further information

You'll find more advice about careers in payroll from The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals.

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With experience, you could work in the finance department of larger companies or public sector organisations like local authorities or the NHS.

You could move into pensions management or do further training to qualify as an accountant.

You could also work for a payroll bureau that provides payroll services to other companies.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • leadership skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • administration skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • business management skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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