Payroll administrator

Alternative titles for this job include Payroll clerk

Payroll administrators make sure employees get paid the right amount on the right date.

Average salary (a year)

£15,000 Starter


£28,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become a payroll administrator

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
  • a specialist course run by a professional body


The International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB) and The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) offer introductory courses in bookkeeping and payroll that can studied at a college or by distance learning. Courses include:

  • IAB Level 1 Certificate in Payroll
  • IAB Level 1 Award in Bookkeeping
  • AAT Certificate in Bookkeeping

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More information


You can get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship as a payroll administrator.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

You could apply directly for job vacancies. Some employers will expect you to have GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including maths.

While experience in payroll isn't always essential, a background in bookkeeping and accounts could help improve your job prospects.

Other routes

You can do qualifications offered by The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals to help get into this job. Qualifications vary from introductory courses to postgraduate level.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about careers in payroll from The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • administration skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work on your own
  • maths knowledge
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will usually include:

  • checking how many hours employees have worked
  • calculating and issuing pay by cash, cheque or electronic transfer
  • deducting tax and national insurance payments
  • processing holiday, sick and maternity pay, and expenses
  • calculating overtime, shift payments and pay increases
  • answering staff queries about timesheets or pay slips
  • issuing P45s and other tax forms

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to payroll supervisor or manager.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Payroll and Pension Administration Apprentice

  • Wage : £16,054.00 Annually
  • Location: Poole BH17 0RB

Payroll Administrator Apprenticeship Level 3

  • Wage : £195.37 Weekly
  • Location: Willenhall WV13 3PW

Courses In England

AAT Accounting and Payroll Introduction: Award in Payroll - Level 1

  • Provider: WKCIC GROUP
  • Start date: 01 February 2020
  • Location: LONDON

IAB L1 Award in Payroll for Business

  • Start date: 16 October 2019
  • Location: Witney

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