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Payroll administrator

Alternative titles for this job include Payroll clerk, payroll officer

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

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter


£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Payroll administrator

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


You could do a college course which will give you some of the skills you’ll need to apply for a trainee payroll position or an apprenticeship. Some of the courses that are available include:

  • bookkeeping
  • computerised payroll
  • a T Level in accounting

Some courses can be studied at college or by distance learning. Speak to your chosen college to find the right level of course for you.

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

More Information


You could apply for a Payroll Administrator Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship.

If you want to train for management, you could do a Payroll Assistant Manager Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship.

These apprenticeships are offered by commercial companies and public sector organisations, and take around 2 years to complete.

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

More Information


You may be able to join a payroll department as an assistant or take on payroll responsibilities while working in a related role like human resources or finance. You could then do on-the-job training through a professional body, such as:

Courses are available from introductory level to foundation degree and higher.

Direct Application

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

While experience in payroll is not always essential to start, a background in bookkeeping or accounts could help improve your job prospects.

More Information

Career tips

You’ll get training in payroll software when you start a job but good computer skills, especially with spreadsheets, will give you an advantage when looking for work.

Further information

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

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

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
  • maths knowledge
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work on your own
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a payroll administrator, you will:

  • enter employee data onto a payroll system
  • process wages, overtime, deductions and send out pay slips
  • calculate statutory contributions like pensions and National Insurance
  • audit information to make sure it’s accurate and up-to-date
  • answer staff queries about timesheets or pay slips
  • create payroll reports for management

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a manager of a payroll or finance department in a large organisation, like a local authority or the NHS.

You might also:

  • move into pensions management or human resources
  • train to qualify as an accountant
  • work in payroll software development
  • manage an agency that provides payroll services to businesses

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Payroll Assistant Level 3

  • Wage: £13,000 a year Annually

Payroll Apprentice

  • Wage: £22,000 a year Annually
  • Location: Randalls Way, Leatherhead

Courses In England

Level 1 in Bookkeeping, Payroll and Environmental Sustainability

  • Start date: 20 September 2024
  • Location: London

Payroll - Level 1 IAB Award

  • Provider: Capital City College Group
  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: London

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