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Current salary recommendations

Recommended starting salaries

IfA seeks to foster recognition of the responsibility held by archaeologists and other historic environment professionals in the study and care of the historic environment. The high-level skills required for this vital role should be recognised in status and salary levels.

For the guidance of employers seeking to determine appropriate starting salaries for archaeologists, we provide the following figures based on a study of salary levels in comparative professions

PIfA level competence/responsibility £19,853 - £20,926
AIfA level competence/responsibility £29,123 – £31,561
MIfA level competence/responsibility £36,552 - £40,276

Further information on this study can be found in the ‘benchmarking archaeological salaries’ section below.

Salary minima

For the current financial year we strongly recommend that the salary for archaeologists should not fall below the following

Posts requiring competence/responsibility at PIfA level - £17,094
Posts requiring competence/responsibility at AIfA level - £19,911
Posts requiring competence/responsibility at MIfA level - £25,738

Our Code of conduct requires all members - which includes registered organsiations - to endeavour to meet or exceed the IfA recommended minimum salaries.

Extract from the Code of conduct;

5.5 A member shall give due regard to the welfare of employees, colleagues and helpers in relation to the terms and conditions of service. He or she shall give reasonable consideration to any IfA recommended pay minima and conditions of employment, and should endeavour to meet or exceed the IfA recommended minimum salaries.

For links to salary guidance issued by other heritage sector bodies, see below

(For information on the different grades, please see the Applicants’ Handbook (pdf file))

Employment package

There is a package of employment entitlements that Registered Organisation employers are expected and IfA member employers are encouraged to adhere to. The breakdown of these is as follows:

  • 6% employer pension contribution subject to any reasonable qualifying period
    • There is no requirement within the amended scheme for employers to compensate staff who choose not to join a pension scheme where employer contributions are offered.
    • There is no requirement to compensate staff on short-term contracts who are not employed for a sufficient length of time to meet the qualification period of a pension scheme although this is something which the IfA strongly encourages as good employment practice.
    • It is recognised that the qualifying period may be set by the pension company.
  • Average 37.5 hour working week
    • It is recognised that the circumstances of contract work often require working beyond these hours, compensated for by systems of time off in lieu or overtime payments. A regular increase in working hours should be reflected by a corresponding increase in pay.
  • From April 2009, the statutory entitlement to paid annual leave will increase to 28 days (pro rata for part time workers).
    • Staff employed on a fixed-term or part-time basis should be entitled to paid annual leave accrued on a pro rata basis.
    • For more information, please see the DWP website.
  • Sick leave allowance of at least 1 month on full pay subject to any reasonable qualifying period
    • Sick leave allowance may be aggregated over a rolling twelve-month period.
    • Three to four months is suggested as a reasonable qualifying period.
    • Staff employed on a fixed-term or part-time basis should be entitled to sick pay accrued on a sliding scale or pro rata basis.

Any employer not adhering to this package is expected to remunerate their staff as follows.

Condition PIfA AIfA MIfA
2014/15 minimum salary
£17,094.00 £19,911.00 £25,738.00
No employer pension
contributions (+6%)
£1,025.64 +£1,194.66 £1,544.28
Per additional hour over
and above 37.5 hpw
£455.84 +£530.96 £686.35
No sick leave allowance
(based on min. 1 month full pay)
£1,424.50 £1,659.25 £2,144.83

Benchmarking Archaeological Salaries project

Minimum recommended salaries for IfA Grades were introduced in 1996 linked to Local Government pay scales. In April 2007 the IfA introduced wider pay criteria and set minimum standards for working time, holiday pay, sick pay and employer pension contributions. The IfA however, also recognised that minimum salary levels do not compare well with salary levels in other broadly comparable professions and decided that a robust methodology was needed to allow reliable comparisons with other professions, leading to pay minima which reflect more accurately the work complexity, qualifications, skills and experience of professional archaeologists and others in this field.

Under the guidance of an external consultant, the project used job evaluation techniques to assess a sample of archaeological posts. Using the JEGS system of job evaluation, scores were assigned to each post which would then be compared with JEGS scores and salary data from a range of other organisations. Archaeological salaries were also compared with salary data from the Institute of Environmental Managers and Assessors and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors 2007 salary surveys. The results indicated that IfA minimum salaries were 13% lower than the nearest comparator and in some cases were up to 53% lower than some comparable posts.

The report concluded that no steps could be taken to increase IfA minimum salaries without detailed consideration of the impact on ROs and others and without full consultation on the most appropriate way forward. IfA consulted formally with ROs and others on feasibility and potential impact of increasing minimum salaries, and Council decided to increase minimum salaries by 13% over a five year period. Unfortunately changes in the economic climate have prevented the process from starting, but Council are still committed to this goal.

Kate Geary produced an updated report in spring 2010.

Institute for Archaeologists
Miller Building
University of Reading

Reading RG6 6AB

0118 378 6446