What you can expect to earn

Once you’ve signed up to join the Armed Forces your basic pay will depend on a number of things, including your pay scale, rank, length of service and your trade. You’ll also get an enhancement which recognises the important and difficult job you’re doing, compared to Civvy Street.

You’ll also get membership to the pension scheme, opportunities to study and gain new qualifications as well as allowances and free eye tests, dental care and prescriptions.

All you have to do is to stay MoneyFit by finding out how you can make the most of all these opportunities.

Your pay

Your basic pay will depend on a number of factors:

  • Your pay scale – there are separate pay scales for officers and other ranks, as well as for certain roles, for example, chaplain, medical officer, professional aviator, nurse.
  • Your rank
  • Your length of Service.
  • Your trade – for other ranks there are four Supplements, each divided into ranges which apply to one or more ranks.

The basic military salary is set to be comparable with a civilian doing a job of similar size and difficulty. It is then enhanced by the ‘X-factor’. The X-factor is an increase to reflect the differences in conditions in service between members of the Armed Forces and civilians. The X-factor takes into account, amongst other things:


The current (2017) New Entrant Rate of Pay (NERP) for Ratings and Other Ranks is £14,931.

Graduate and non-graduate direct entrants for Officer Training start on £25,984.

  • danger 
  • inability to join a trade union 
  • separation, and 
  • work stress

as well as some of the positives of Armed Forces life such as : 

  • adventure
  • job satisfaction, and 
  • opportunity for travel.

Your basic pay is made up of the basic military salary plus the X-factor. For more information and to see current pay rates see the Armed Forces Pay Award 2017.

For information on the new pay model, Pay 16 see Pay 16, The Armed Forces Pay Model booklet.

If you want to know more about how Armed Forces pay is calculated see the independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) which does the research and recommends the military salary to Government.

Other benefits

Your pay is enhanced by a number of benefits which you receive automatically. These include:

You can check how your pay and benefits compare to Civvy Street by using the Armed Forces Benefit calculator.

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Pay rises

Your pay usually goes up each year according to your length of service and your rank as you get promoted (subject to your performance). You can also change pay scales if you change your trade.

You may also get recruitment and retention pay if you have certain skills, for example, flying, diving, parachuting, mountain leading or are a submariner, and are filling a role which uses those skills. See Recruitment and retention pay for more information.  

Payment of your salary

Your salary is paid monthly in arrears on the last working day of the month into a UK bank or building society - see Understanding your pay statement.

You should notify the Joint Personnel Administration Centre (JPAC) of your account details when you enlist or if your bank account details change. You can update your information via SelfService on the JPA system. For more information on JPA see the JPA Quick Start guide.

You can choose to have your pay split and paid into up to four separate bank accounts. These accounts can be in:

  • the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and/or
  • the country in which you are stationed (in this case, at least 10% of your pay must be paid into a bank account in the country where you normally live) and/or
  • one other country for welfare reasons for the essential welfare of your immediate family and/or dependants, if you are joining from overseas. Where this is agreed, the MOD will either:
    • transfer funds directly into a nominated bank account or
    • reimburse reasonable costs where you have to arrange the transfer of funds independently.

Find out more about Sending money home.

Next steps

Now you know what's coming in, get MoneyFit and plan your budget so that your money lasts you till the end of the month and beyond.  See Budgeting to make the most of your money and use our Budget planner to get started.

If you've already got your budget sorted then prepare yourself for the future with Goal setting.

Last reviewed: 18/09/2017