Do you feel wealthy? Just as with every General Election, there’s been a lot of talk recently about what it means to be wealthy.
£80,000? £100,000? Well, salary benchmarking company Emolument has released a report which claims to show how much UK workers need to actually feel wealthy.
Perhaps reflecting our culturally similar working attitudes, both UK workers and their US counterparts need to earn the same amount for them to feel truly financially secure – so, now we can put a price tag on what it means to be wealthy: £370,000 a year.
The report, which asked professionals across the world to detail the annual income above which they felt wealthy, also showed that UK and US workers top the list; in France, the price of true wealth drops to £310,000, before tumbling even further for employees in Switzerland (£208,000), Singapore (£149,000) and the UAE (£139,000).
Unsurprisingly for an emerging economy, professionals in India believed that they were wealthy once they were earning £25,000 – that isn’t a far cry from the average salary in the UK, which sits at £27,000.
Experience also plays a factor, and those with less of it said they required less money to feel wealthy. For workers who had five or fewer years of experience, that figure plummeted to just £93,000; professionals with 15 plus years’ experience, they said that in order to feel well-off, they needed £435,000.
Emolument’s survey also showed divisions between different industries, where even those working in sectors that are considered well-paid did not consider themselves wealthy. Just 30% employed in insurance believed they were rich, while three-quarters of those in the financial services said they were not well-off.
At the bottom of the pile were real estate and architecture workers, with just 14% agreeing that they were wealthy; this was followed by those employed in the technology and telecom sector, where 15% agreed that they were comfortably rich.
The vast gulf between industries considered well-paid and the way workers in those industries actually feel might, in part, be linked to a disconnect between perception and reality – after all, consider the perceived glamour of working in the media:
It’s possible to assume many of those entering the media would believe that, as a rich and aspirational industry, they would automatically share in that wealth. However, 81% of media and communications workers did not think of themselves wealthy.
Discussing the findings, Alice Leguay, co-founder of Emolument, said:
‘Considering current levels of frustration with their jobs and the industry as a whole, it is not surprising that only a small proportion of bankers feel wealthy. This discrepancy leads many searching for an exit towards less regulated and more exciting opportunities in the venture capital, private equity and hedge fund space, where bankers now perceive opportunities for wealth to be within reach.’
So, now we can put an average price on wealth: £370,000.
But that figure will be of little comfort for everyday workers across the country. At a time when the cost of living is spiralling out of control, household budgets are being squeezed, and our wages are stagnating, it’s unlikely that the majority of British workers are going to feel wealthy any time soon.