Freelance Builder Pay Trends: December

Freelance Builder Pay Trends: December

20th January 2020 | Hudson Contract

A welcome end to 2019 with earnings up 3.5%

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.

The year ended strongly for freelance tradespeople as weekly earnings increased by 3.5 per cent.

Our analysis of December payroll data for more than 2,200 construction companies in England and Wales reveals a weekly average of £948 for subcontractors. The welcome rise represents the third successive month of growth.

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “2019 ended strongly for subcontractors as construction companies moved to finish projects ahead of Christmas.

“With the general election out of the way and a majority government in place, businesses can plan ahead for 2020 with more confidence and start to invest again, which is good news for the construction sector and wider economy as a whole.”

National Weekly Average Earnings December 2019: £948
Region December 2019 Average Month on Month Change Year on Year Change
North East £768 -0.8% -11.4% 
North West £870 -0.2% 1.8% 
Yorkshire & Humber £885 5.9% 1.6% 
East Midlands £939 1.5% 1.8% 
West Midlands £1,021 4.5% -0.2% 
Wales £829 3.0% -0.1% 
East of England £1,011 5.6% 4.6% 
London £920 1.3% -1.1% 
South East £983 6.0% 8.5% 
South West £874 3.1% 2.6% 

Anfield added: “The latest PMI shows that optimism has rebounded to a nine-month high and points to a softening decline in staffing numbers. These findings are consistent with our latest pay trends analysis which shows strengthening demand for skilled tradespeople."

Our regional breakdown shows the South East had the strongest growth, with earnings up 6 per cent to £983, followed by Yorkshire and Humber, up 5.9 per cent to £885, and the East of England, up 5.6 per cent to £1,011.

Earnings for the individual trades highlight the need for clients to finish jobs before Christmas - or the desire for freelancers to take a well-earned break with their families.

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

This month’s winners:

  • Bricklaying: +46.1%
  • Civil Engineering: +33.5%
  • Roofing: +20.2%

And the losers:

  • Shop fitting: -28.8%
  • Mechanical and Engineering: -23.4%
  • Plumbing: -22.4%


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 2019.

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