GMA recommends 2.5% pay increase for grounds personnel in 2019

The GMA is recommending a 2.5 per cent increase in grounds staff’s national minimum salary bands for 2019. 

The recommendations have been made against a backdrop of economic uncertainty over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, which is likely to impact growth; GDP growth is expected to be low in the medium term, with 1.6% the forecasted figure for 2019, and it is not expected to rise above this level until after 2023.

The suggested rise sits between CPIH (Consumer Price Inflation including owner-occupier’s housing costs) inflation of 2.2% and the 2.9% increase in the voluntary living wage. As a result, it should take account of any increase in the cost of living and should ensure that grounds staff pay rates remain competitive.

The GMA recommended national basic salary bands for 2019 are:

Grounds manager

Head groundsperson

Deputy head groundsperson/sole charge

Groundsperson (skilled)


Junior groundsperson
£15,905 (Age 17)

Junior groundsperson
£13,208 (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.

Importantly, the bottom of the scale for groundsperson (£18,250 for 2018) is already above the current UK-wide living wage rate. The recommended minimum pay rate for a groundsperson in London should be set at £21,000 (Outer) and £22,500 (Inner) to ensure everyone receives at least a living wage.

The GMA also encourages all employers to become accredited living wage employers and to make this explicit in their recruitment and employment offers.

In addition, a 5% increase to at least £575 per annum (compared to £550 in last year’s recommendations) should be paid to everyone – not just to junior posts as in the past - for the successful completion of GMA qualifications. This, says the GMA, will encourage an ongoing focus on training and professional development.

Given the current climate of economic and political uncertainty and on-going fiscal restraint, the GMA says it is of critical importance to job satisfaction levels that employers ensure they are meeting their obligations in ensuring fair payment for overtime worked and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This should be done in partnership with employees with agreements reached about the balance between overtime pay, time off in lieu and flexible working.

In addition to this survey, GMA chief executive Geoff Webb says the GMA will be commissioning a separate body of research to look at salary scales in elite, global sports stadia.

“While the GMA’s suggested salary scales have progressively improved over the last decade, it is recognised that the roles and salaries of those working at sports stadia across the UK require further review and analysis,” he comments. “This will be undertaken within separate, ongoing GMA Industry Research and the results will be presented at SALTEX 2019.”


The research was carried out independently by Myriad Research ( using a number of data sources for analysis. GMA members  can access the full report and view the bands via their online member portal. For information on how to become a member and gain access to this report, please email or call 01908 512 311 for more information.