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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

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

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


You can do an introductory course in bookkeeping and payroll, which can be studied at a college or by distance learning. Courses include:

  • Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping
  • Level 1 Certificate in Payroll
  • Level 1 or 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping

You could do a T Level in Accounting and then apply for trainee positions. This may give you the chance to work towards further qualifications on the job through part-time study or a payroll apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More Information


Apprenticeships relevant to this role include:

  • advanced Payroll assistant
  • higher Payroll assistant manager

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

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

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
  • 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

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

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You may:

  • check how many hours employees have worked
  • calculate and issue pay by cash, cheque or electronic transfer
  • deduct tax and national insurance payments
  • process holiday, sick and maternity pay, and expenses
  • calculate overtime, shift payments and pay increases
  • answer staff queries about timesheets or pay slips
  • issue P45s and other tax forms

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 progress to payroll supervisor or manager.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Payroll Administrator Apprentice

  • Wage: £16,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Peterborough

Payroll Apprentice

  • Wage: £20,050.00 Annually
  • Location: Exchange Flags, Liverpool

Courses In England

Level 2 Payroll - Term 2

  • Start date: 23 January 2024
  • Location: Walsall

Payroll - Level 1 IAB Award

  • Provider: Capital City College Group
  • Start date: 31 January 2024
  • Location: London

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