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CIMA newly qualified salary guide

16 December 2014 Candidate Blogs

Congratulations on your newly qualified status! Now’s the time to assess your career options.

This guide offers information on how salary rates vary and where the opportunities are for career progression across a number of sectors, to help you decide which career path you may want to pursue.

Average salary rates by sector:




Interim rates (per day)





















Financial services














Property/real estate

Among signs of stronger economic growth for both the US and global economy, investors are anticipating a possible decreasing of the US Fed quantitative easing policy, which is predicted to result in an increase in interest rates. The consequence for global real estate is that demand for higher yielding strategies will continue to strengthen, with investor confidence starting to return to pre 2008 levels.

In the UK, economic growth forecasts are also increasingly optimistic with predictions for 2014 ranging between 2.2% - 2.4%. The governments "help to buy" scheme is pushing recovery within the residential property sector, while the commercial property sector is benefiting from opportunities utilising yield compression strategies.

The above environment presents attractive career opportunities for newly qualified CIMA candidates, and as such remains highly competitive.

Average starting salaries are around the £45 - £50k mark. The bonus potential is increasing in line with company performance, making overall prospective packages very attractive.

Due to the growth environment, there is particularly strong demand for commercially minded accountants with strong business acumen and communication skills who are able to transform data in a way to identify trends and opportunities to support the business strategy.


The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) recently announced a record package of investments designed to ensure the UK meets its 30% renewable energy target by 2020 and provide certainty to investors, particularly enhancing financial support to offshore wind farms. The continued developments to the UK Energy Bill also aim to attract investment to transform the UK electricity market.

The evolution of the shale gas industry is also expected to have an economic impact on gas markets across Europe, where exploration is under way in a number of countries including the UK.

Though the mining sector has been relatively flat in 2013 and is predicted to remain at similar levels in 2014, recent changes of ownership at three of the four largest miners as well as continued weakening within emerging market currencies are expected to bring positive changes. China and Europe are also showing some promising signals for the demand-side of mining, though commodity prices remain an uncertainty.

Newly qualified CIMA candidates wishing to enter the energy industry can expect an interesting career path, which will equip them with a variety of valuable and unique technical experience.

Salary levels vary significantly depending on company size as well as relative position and maturity within the particular market, though tend to average out at the £45k mark. Bonuses and benefits for this industry are generally above average, though individual company performances can differ significantly.

Technology and telecoms    

In the technology and telecoms industry employer demand is generally greater for candidates with specific industry experience, rather then there being direct demand for newly qualified CIMA candidates.

Salaries vary in this sector - typically ranging between £40k to £50k, depending on the size and turnover of the company.

Generally speaking salaries tend to be right on the average level in terms of basic salary, with other incentives on offer as part of the compensation package. With an increasing population of start-ups in tech-city, and London generally, the IT market looks set for increased opportunity over the next few years.


Media is a very attractive industry for CIMA qualified candidates owing to the creative working environment and other perks on offer.

Many candidates are enticed to work for high profile brands or clients with a tangible product.

Salaries are generally lower than average – ranging between £36k to £45k – due to the high demand for jobs in this sector.


Retail is also an attractive, in-demand sector for newly qualified CIMA candidates with many opting to work for the high profile luxury brands. As brands and companies move to do more business online, experience in e-commerce, direct marketing, mail-order and campaign marketing analysis has become sought after.

With retail being such a competitive market, gaining industry experience can take precedence over the actual role, with candidates typically being more flexible to get their ‘foot in the door’.

For those candidates moving into the retail industry marketing and retail analyst roles are usually the preferred jobs.

Legal and consultancy

Within legal and consultancy a lot of the Magic and Silver Circle firms generally favour experience over qualifications. Although there is still demand for newly qualified CIMA candidates in this industry.

Opportunities are more likely to be found at the bigger law firms and consultancy businesses. Candidates can expect base salaries to be around £45k.


This is another in-demand market for newly qualified CIMA candidates, attracted by the high profile consumer goods brands. With the high level of competition clients expect exceptional candidates within the FMCG sector.

Opportunities within this sector tend to be more commercially biased roles, offering candidates the opportunity to partner with key stakeholders to support commercial decision-making and gain exposure across the business.

Salaries are typically higher than average in the FMCG sector.

Charities & not for profit

Although salary levels tend to be lower in the not for profit sector, candidates are attracted by the work-life balance and generous non-monetary benefits on offer by many organisations.

There are numerous opportunities for CIMA newly qualified accountants in the following public sector markets: charities, arts & heritage, membership bodies, education, housing and the NHS.

Such benefits often include flexible working hours, extended annual leave allowance and a more relaxed working environment.

Those candidates looking to move into the charity sector will also benefit from the opportunity for a more rewarding and fulfilling career which is often a big draw.

What’s next?

To further assist you with your career decision we’ve also created a ‘next steps’ career guide.

At Morgan Hunt, our finance team has years of specialist expertise in recruiting newly qualified CIMA candidates. We work on a personal, consultative basis to help you develop and progress your career within your industry of choice.

Contact us today for more information – call Sam Vorley on 0207 419 8909 or email us


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