CIOB says subbies make up 36% of construction workforce
19th May 2023 | Hudson Contract
A new report from the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has illustrated the importance of self-employment to the construction industry.
The Real Face of Construction said the national share of self-employment was 36% last year, but there are signs it is decreasing, having expanded in recent years in the north. In previous years, self-employment was more associated with work in the south than the north, added the report.
According to the CIOB, the South West had the biggest share at 44%, followed by Yorkshire and Humber and London at 40% each. At the other end of the scale, Scotland had the lowest share at 24%, followed by the North West at 31% and West Midlands at 33%.
The report also revealed the average full-time employed construction worker earned £36,000 last year, which was above the £33,000 for full-time employees in the wider economy.
Hudson Contract’s Pay Trends analysis shows how the self-employed can earn significantly more: subcontractors earned an average of £941 per week during April, so will average approximately £45,000 a year.
Hudson Contract has commissioned extensive research into the economic role of freelance workers in the construction industry.
Professor Andrew Burke’s latest study in 2022 highlighted the productivity benefits of increasing the use of self-employed tradespeople in a blended workforce model.
Prof Burke concluded that construction firms that utilise more than the average of a 37 per cent freelance share of total workers generate 7 per cent more output per annum than businesses that use a below average share of freelance workers.
This would equate to an annual increase of £3.5 billion per annum for the construction industry.
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