The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG), is recommending a 2.5% increase in grounds staff’s national minimum salary bands for 2018. 

But the IOG, the leading membership organisation for everyone involved in the management of sports pitches, landscape and amenity facilities in the UK, also advises that a 2.5% increase would, in real terms, equate to an increase of just 0.1% when the projected Consumer Price Index (CPIH) is accounted for.


However, the IOG says the increase would:


Maintain a sustainable pay structure for all grounds staff


Account for inflationary pressures, and


Ensure grounds staff pay is in line with overall market trends. Most pay awards in the private and leisure sectors are predicted to be 2 to 3% in 2018.


Based on independent, industry-wide research, the IOG recommendations also suggest a 2% extension to the top of each pay band, to allow for greater professional development and to reward experience.


The IOG recommended national basic salary bands for 2018 are:


Grounds manager


Heads groundsperson


Deputy head groundsperson/sole charge


Groundsperson (skilled)




Junior groundsperson
£15,517 (Age 17)


Junior groundsperson
£12,886 (Age 16).


These bands reflect minimum recommended basic salary payment and are based on a 37.5-hour week. Bonuses, overtime and subsistence payments have not been included and are therefore additional.


The IOG also recommends that employers ensure they meet their obligations in terms of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and ensure fair payment for overtime worked – by agreement about the balance between overtime pay, time off in lieu or flexible working. 


Regional pay allowances continue to be incorporated into the salary bands and the IOG recommends that higher cost areas of the country should make salary awards at the upper levels of the bands. Regional differences are:


Inner London


Outer London


Fringe areas


It is expected that the recommended minimum pay rate for a groundsperson in London should be £20,000 – though there is an expectation that most in this category would already be paid above that, in line with previous recommendations.


In addition, £550 per annum should be paid to those in junior groundsperson and groundsperson bands for the successful completion of IOG qualifications such as NVQ Levels 1 and 2, to encourage recruitment and ensure an ongoing focus on training and professional development. With low productivity forecast over the medium term, it is desirable to further incentivise the acquisition of skills, the IOG adds.


The recommendations have been made against a backdrop of economic uncertainty caused by Brexit and a revised (downwards) expectation for GDP growth in 2018 (from 1.7% to 1.4%). Poor productivity is a key factor in economic growth and, while this is notoriously difficult to measure in the leisure industry, it is likely to be a continued depressor of growth. 


For the year to October 2017, the CPIH (Consumer Price Inflation – including owner-occupier housing costs) recorded inflation at 2.8%, while the Retail Price Index forecasts 3.6%. In addition, interest rates rose from 0.25% to 0.5% in November 2017 and the National Living Wage, for people over 25 years old, also increased to £7.50 per hour in April 2017. It will rise again by 4.4%, to £7.83, in April 2018.


Average earnings have been lower in the public sector than in the private sector since 2015 – provisional estimates for average earnings put public pay growth at 1.8% compared to 2.3% in the private sector – but in September the government announced the end of the 1% pay freeze for average public sector pay awards. This year, government will consider recommendations of the Pay Review Bodies to inform pay awards.


The research was carried out independently by Myriad Research ( using a number of data sources for analysis.


*While the IOG salary survey reflects the diversity of the industry, the IOG is aiming to undertake a more in-depth analysis of pay scales in elite stadia management, to compare and contrast with global salaries for iconic sports venues. This new level of research will be part of the industry-wide research that the IOG will be undertaking this year.


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