Anonymous Royal Navy recruits hands CREDIT ROYAL NAVY
Military personnel are set for a pay rise to be announced in Wednesday's Budget (Picture: Royal Navy).
Money And Finance

How much do Armed Forces personnel earn?

A career in the military brings with it a raft of perks – including subsidised food, lodgings and free healthcare – on top of a salary.

Anonymous Royal Navy recruits hands CREDIT ROYAL NAVY
Military personnel are set for a pay rise to be announced in Wednesday's Budget (Picture: Royal Navy).

Armed Forces personnel are in line for a pay increase as Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to confirm he will scrap the year-long public sector pay freeze in Wednesday's Budget.

But as military personnel – and millions of other public sector workers – wait to see what pay rise they can expect, what are the salaries levels within the Armed Forces?

Forces News takes a look at the current rates of pay across the services.

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Entry Level

According to the official Army recruitment page, the current rate of pay for a Recruit (in initial training) is £15,985 a year, before progressing to £20,400 a year, as a Private on completion of basic training.

The Royal Air Force recruitment page says its entry-level roles range from £15,985 to £39,000, depending on the role. 

Similar to the Army and RAF, regardless of entry level and role, recruits in the Royal Navy are paid a full monthly salary from the day training begins.

Day one salary for ratings in the Navy is £15,671 a year, rising to £20,000 after 26 weeks, then to £33,038 on first promotion to Leading Rating.

The day one salary for an officer is £27,272 a year, rising to £32,780 after completing training at Britannia Royal Naval College.


A soldier in the British Army who progresses up the ranks can earn £27,326 a year as a Lance Corporal, £31,869 a year as a Corporal, and £35,853 a year as a starting Sergeant salary. 

An officer cadet at Sandhurst earns £27,818 per annum, a 2nd Lieutenant, £33,426 per annum, a Lieutenant, £34,610 a year, a Captain, £42,849 per annum, up to a Major who takes home £53,975.

In the Royal Navy, a rating's second promotion to Petty Officer will command a salary of £37,870 a year, and £51,800 to the highest level of Warrant Officer.

After a year of service and training completion, you can be in line for the first promotion to Sub-Lieutenant after completing officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College.

An officer's first promotion to Sub-Lieutenant – after a year of service and training completion – brings with it a salary of £33,931 a year, and a second promotion to Lieutenant has a salary of £42,009. The rank of Captain has a salary of £98,909 a year.


What is notable in the military is that there are many financial benefits and opportunities on top of the annual salary.

There are frequent opportunities to enhance and develop professional qualifications, delivering transferrable skills that are recognised by civilian employers.

All of the Armed Forces offer free healthcare and dental care, with free gym and lifestyle memberships. 

Another benefit for the military is subsidised food and lodgings.

Pay rise for low-paid

The lowest-paid Armed Forces personnel will see a salary boost after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced earlier in October that some military personnel are to receive a pay increase.

Mr Wallace said that all Armed Forces personnel earning less than £24,000 a year – regular and reserve – will receive a pay rise of £250.

The boost will be implemented from next month's salary payments and will be back backdated to 1 April 2021.

In response, the shadow defence secretary described the £250 boost for lower paid personnel as "a real pay cut".

John Healey said: "Forces pay has fallen back for nearly a decade, now they face a further real pay cut. Ministers are failing our frontline forces."