The switch from an industrial to a service-based economy in 1980s Britain paved the way for a whole category of jobs which supported the new breed of businesses emerging from that era.

Business owners realized that it was more efficient – and often cheaper – to outsource a variety of services that provided business support, as opposed to employing in-house staff to take on these tasks.

In came a new wave of staff who looked after areas including HR, event management, marketing and public relations, IT services, accountancy – the list goes on. In fact, ‘professional services’ is an extremely broad term that pulls in many industries, companies and freelancers who have specialized knowledge of a particular skill which they can sell to CEOs who can then concentrate on maximizing the output of their own particular industry.

More than 40 years later the industry around business support is still thriving, and perhaps not surprisingly it is one of the better paid sectors in the UK. The average salary for what we could describe as a ‘professional services consultant’ is around £50,000, and almost £60,000 in London. For graduates, a career in professional services – ranging from a trainee corporate lawyer to a junior auditor – is an attractive one, as starting salaries are generally good and there are many opportunities for progression.

​So let’s focus on five jobs within professional services to see what they are and how well they’re remunerated:

Corporate lawyer

A corporate lawyer specializes in business law and advises businesses on their legal rights and obligations. Businesses, especially larger ones, make complex decisions every day, and corporate lawyers need to be on hand to make sure that such decisions comply with applicable laws and regulations. Corporate lawyers are expected to advise on all issues concerning business ownership, formation, mergers and acquisitions, contracts, purchase agreements and day-to-day management.

Given the breadth of education and experience needed, corporate lawyers are rewarded well, with average salaries in the range of £70,000 a year. This can climb to a salary well into six figures for top corporate lawyers working in blue chip law firms, and corporate lawyers working in London can expect to earn around £10,000 PA more than their counterparts in other areas of the UK.

Software architect

The birth of the internet prompted a huge and ongoing boom in all things digital. As technology develops further and faster, IT specialists are very much in demand. Software architecture is the process of designing and organizing the system, and a software architect is the person who manages all the components needed for software development. This is a complex role, not least because it also involves working out how each component works with others, the environment in which they’ll be deployed and the application of design principles.

The responsibilities of keeping vital IT systems up to date while overseeing new developments are large – which is why salaries are generally high. A software architect can expect to earn around £75,000 a year, with salaries nudging six figures in London.


Accountants provide financial services to businesses and other organisations, preparing and maintaining financial records, filing tax returns and advising clients on investments, tax efficiency, financial planning, budgeting and other financial matters. Some accountants work as auditors, investigating the financial records of businesses to ensure they are accurate and compliant with regulations.

A good accountant keeps abreast of regular changes to financial dealings, not least from organisations like HMRC. They are experts at using the latest technology to prepare and file accounts and records, and top-level chief financial officers (CFOs) are instrumental in helping to make large-scale financial decisions on behalf of big companies.

A CFO may earn around £100,000 a year, while a tax manager who specializes in tax planning and compliance might expect to pocket around £45,000 a year.


An actuary is a business expert who uses knowledge of economics, statistics, probability theory and investment theory to solve business problems. An important focus of the job is to predict emerging financial risk and to devise steps to mitigate the risk should it occur. Depending on their position, actuaries might manage a company’s financial assets and liabilities, determine the pricing of insurance premiums or advise a firm on pension plans.

In the current uncertain economic climate an actuary’s services are invaluable, and salaries are currently reflecting this. Actuaries are earning an average of £70,000 a year and many more are bringing in excess of that, taking them over the six-figure mark.

Cyber security specialist

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought into sharp focus the possibility of cyber attacks as a weapon of war, and big companies and organization are especially vulnerable to large-scale attacks in which systems crash and ransoms are demanded. A cyber security specialist applies technical knowledge to protect a business’s data from internal and external threats, like illegal access and cybercrime. A cyber security specialist is required tomaintain infrastructural security on a daily basis, with many complex and interesting challenges along the way.

Needless to say, cyber security specialists are hot news in terms of employability, and as such they can command upwards of £50,000 a year.

If you’re considering a career in professional services be sure to take a look at our latest job listings to see what roles are currently available. Alternatively, give us a call on 01895 808188 and one of our friendly staff will be happy to help you find your perfect next role.