Freelance Builder Pay Trends: August 2023

Freelance Builder Pay Trends: August 2023

21st September 2023 | Hudson Contract

Demand for skilled labour on building sites drives earnings to record high; Subbies earned an average £1,012 per week during August.

Demand for skilled labour on building sites drove earnings to a record high last month, according to Hudson Contract’s payroll – the biggest in the construction industry.

Our analysis shows that average rates for self-employed tradespeople increased by 1.4 per cent to £1,012 per week during August. Pay was 4.1 per cent higher than the same period last year.

It is only the second time that average earnings have exceeded £1,000 per week. The first was December 2022 as subbies put in extra hours to finish projects.

Joiners, plumbers and insulators – the trades involved at the back end of housebuilding projects – enjoyed the biggest rise in pay in August. Joiners saw their earnings increase by 7.6 per cent to £1,166 per week, plumbers by 5.7 per cent to £1,196 and insulators by 5.4 per cent to £1,113.

Meanwhile, pay for civil engineers – who do the groundworks on new sites – increased by just 0.8 per cent to £946 per week, suggesting they are in less demand.

Sub contractor pay trends for August 2023

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “Our payroll figures reflect the mixed picture of what’s happening in construction at the moment.

“There is no doubt that major housebuilders are buying less land, starting fewer sites and putting pressure on their suppliers to cut costs. But there is a lag between turning the tap off at one end and what comes through the pipe at the other end.

“This means that some sites are still stacked out. Many of our clients are busy with work they secured some time ago. Demand remains high for tradespeople who can increase their earnings because they know their skills are in short supply.

“What happens with labour rates over the next few months is hard to predict; developers say times are tough with the private housing market slowing and the big housing associations are forecasting building 50 per cent fewer units next year.”

Region August 2023 Average Month on Month % Change Year on Year % Change
North East £804 -2.0% 4.6%
North West £959 1.8% 1.4%
Yorkshire & Humber £977 1.2% 4.6%
East Midlands £1,076 4.6% 7.8%
West Midlands £991 0.1% 3.7%
Wales £1,007 -0.8% 6.8%
East of England £1,096 1.5% 5.1%
London £1,061 1.4% 4.3%
South East £1,058 1.6% 5.2%
South West £958 1.7% -0.9%

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

Hudson Contract is the UK’s largest provider of tax status and employment contract services to the construction industry with annual revenues of £2 billion and a client base of 2,600 construction SMEs.

Our family-owned group delivers the most accurate indication of subcontractor pay trends across the construction industry, publishing the average pay for a spectrum of 17 different trades split across 10 regions in England and Wales. Our statistics are supplied to the Bank of England to keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour.

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