Freelance Builder Pay Trends: December 2018

Freelance Builder Pay Trends: December 2018

15th January 2019 | Hudson Contract

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

The year ended on a high note for freelance builders, with earnings up by 2.68% or £25 a week on November, to chalk up three consecutive months of increases.

“The annual push to get work finished ahead of the Christmas break was assisted by unseasonably but very welcome mild weather,” says Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield.    

“It’s also significant that subbies in the West Midlands have become the first to smash through the £1,000 a week threshold.  It’s a significant moment for construction.  Not only does it signify high demand for skilled workers – and especially bricklayers, electricians, plasterers, joiners, and mechanical and engineering specialists – it will hopefully help to put construction on the career sights for school leavers.”

Eight of Hudson Contract’s ten regions enjoyed increases in December, with East Midlands holding steady and only Wales bucking the trend with a slight reduction of 0.6%.

National Weekly Average Earnings December 2018: £932


Region December 2018 Average Change from November 2018
North East £867.00 +10.27%
North West £855.00 +3.74%
Yorkshire & Humber £871.00 +2.30%
East Midlands £922.00 no change
West Midlands £1,023.00 +5.28%
Wales £830.00 -0.60%
East of England £967.00 +0.62%
London £930.00 +2.15%
South East £906.00 +0.22%
South West £852.00


To view our interactive pay trends map click here

Trade Winners

  • Mechanical & Engineering: +8.49%
    Bouncing back from last month's slip
  • Plastering: +6.32%
    North-West leads the way
  • Civil Engineering: +4.15%
    Solid gains in the North-East

Trade Losers:

  • Demolition & Wrecking: -8.00%
    Below £1,000 per week for the first time in two months
  • Plumbing: -1.49%
    Losses in the West Midlands but still at £1,171 per week
  • Electrical: -0.79%
    Down £9 per week on November to £1,140

Meanwhile, mirroring our increase in civil engineering, the latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Total Activity Index also reports strong activity in the sector, rising at its fastest rate since May 2017 and signifying the ninth consecutive month of growth.

Firms surveyed also report sub-contractor usage picked up towards the end of the year – with the strongest rate of expansion in three years.

“It’s great to be ending the year on such a positive note for the industry, with output strong, earnings up and the weather behaving itself.  Before anyone else says it, I’ll agree Brexit continues to cast shadows over the future, but even so, I believe plenty of subbies in all parts of the country will be earning over £1,000 a week as the year progresses,” Ian Anfield adds.

How did your trade and/or region fair in 2018?

Check out our Annual Earnings Review here

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 December 2018.

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