Current salary recommendations

Minimum salary recommendations (UK only)

From 1 April 2023 we strongly recommend that the salary for archaeologists in the UK should not fall below the following:

  • Posts requiring competence/responsibility at PCIfA level - £23,231
  • Posts requiring competence/responsibility at ACIfA level - £27,085
  • Posts requiring competence/responsibility at MCIfA level - £34,792

Further details can be found here

Our Code of conduct (PDF file) requires all members - which includes registered organisations - to endeavour to meet or exceed the CIfA 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 CIfA recommended pay minima and conditions of employment, and should endeavour to meet or exceed the CIfA recommended minimum salaries.

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

Employment package

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

  • 6% employer pension contribution
    • 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.
  • 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 PCIfA ACIfA MCIfA
2023/24 minimum salary recommendations £23,231 £27,085 £34,792
Less than 6% employer pension contribution (per % point) £232.31 £270.87 £347.92
Per additional hour over and above 37.5 hpw £619.49 £722.27 £927.79
No sick leave allowance (based on min.1 month full pay) £1,935.92 £2257.08 £2,899.33

Benchmarking Archaeological Salaries project

Minimum recommended salaries for CIfA Grades were introduced in 1996 linked to Local Government pay scales. In April 2007 the CIfA introduced wider pay criteria and set minimum standards for working time, holiday pay, sick pay and employer pension contributions. The CIfA 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 CIfA minimum salaries were 13% lower than the nearest comparator and in some cases were up to 53% lower than some comparable posts.

Kate Geary produced an updated report (PDF file) in spring 2010.