Freelance Builder Pay Trends: April 2020

Freelance Builder Pay Trends: April 2020

14th May 2020 | Hudson Contract

Reopening of sites lifts demand for trades after heavy fall in April

Hudson Contract delivers the most accurate indications of pay trends across the construction industry, using monthly payroll data for more than 2,200+ construction companies to publish the average pay for a spectrum of 17 different trades now split across ten regions.

As the largest payer of subcontractors in the construction industry, we can report demand for labour on Britain’s building sites fell by up to 70 per cent last month as a result of the lockdown.

But the number of freelance tradespeople being paid is on the rise again as more sites reopen.

Ian Anfield, managing director, said: “Many clients returned to work on Monday, May 11. And a number are saying they have never been asked to price so many new projects.”

Latest figures show earnings for subcontractors fell by an average of 18.2 per cent in April.

Analysis of payroll data for more than 2,200 construction companies shows a weekly average of £734 for freelancers in April, down from £897 in March, and the lowest level since January 2015.

The worst hit areas were Yorkshire and the Humber (-32.1 per cent), the South West (-26.9 per cent) and Wales (-25.2 per cent).

National Weekly Average Earnings April 2020: £734
Region April 2020 Average Month on Month % Change Year on Year % Change
North East £578 -18.9% -24.3% 
North West £704 -17.9% -15.9% 
Yorkshire & Humber £644 -32.1% -21.4% 
East Midlands £808 -12.6% -10.4% 
West Midlands £744 -10.0% -20.3% 
Wales £705 -25.2% -10.6% 
East of England £812 -15.9% -12.5% 
London £809 -9.1% -10.0% 
South East £773 -17.1% -12.8% 
South West £656 -26.9% -16.6% 


To view our interactive pay trends map click here

With social distancing measures in place, it is likely that rates will remain lower as SMEs ask tradespeople to share the cost of reduced output on sites.

Mr Anfield added: “The safe return to work will be a welcome boost for households which have been struggling to make ends meet during this difficult period.

“We are focused on supporting our SME clients as they build the housing and infrastructure that Britain will need to recover from this period of crisis.”

Hudson Contract is supplying statistics to the Bank of England to keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour.


This month’s winners:

  • Insulation -8.7%

  • Plumbing -10.5%

  • Demolition and wrecking -11%

This month's losers:

  • Shop fitting -31.2%

  • Steel and timber frame erection -27.3%

  • Civil engineering -24.2%

Hudson Contract’s ‘Window on the Construction Industry’ gives you hard figures and data that is not available from any other source, with pay averages that reflect the amounts paid by a sample number of businesses – large and small – to specific trades during 2020.

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