Freelance Builder Pay Trends: December 2022

Freelance Builder Pay Trends: December 2022

30th January 2023 | Hudson Contract

At last, subbies paid more than a bag of sand: Building trades are now earning a grand a week

Weekly earnings for skilled tradespeople have broken through the £1,000 barrier, according to the biggest payroll in the UK construction industry.

During December, we saw a one per cent increase in average pay to £1,002.

Our managing director Ian Anfield said: "These figures illustrate the excellent earning potential for people who are prepared to put in the time and effort to learn one of the skilled trades.

“At last we can say Britain’s subbies are paid more than a bag of sand!”

Subcontractors in equipment and operator hire, general construction, joinery and surfacing all enjoyed all-time high earnings last month.

The average pay packet in our £2 billion payroll was £945 per week during 2022, an increase of 4.5 per cent against 2021.

Commenting on the reasons for the rise, Ian said: “During the last calendar year, our clients have been telling us that tender opportunities are slowing down but they have full order books, which they are struggling to fulfil.

“The labour market is still feeling the effects of former chancellor Rishi Sunak’s coronavirus support schemes, which paid people a lot of money to sit at home. At the same time, huge infrastructure schemes like Hinkley Point and HS2 entered new phases and created extra demand for skilled labour.

“Housebuilders pushed ahead to get homes out of the ground before big changes to building regulations in the summer and consumers have been spending savings built up during lockdowns on home improvement projects.

“With Brexit, we have consistently said the impact would be felt gradually over time and we are seeing the supply of skilled tradespeople from Europe withering on the vine. Europeans would always come here to work and then go home again but now nobody is replacing them. The routes for working visas are not practical for most construction companies and smaller businesses.

“These are the forces driving up labour rates. They are creating plenty of opportunities for the self-employed to earn a handsome living as the most productive and flexible part of the labour market.”

Region December 2022 Average Month on Month % Change Year on Year % Change
North East £768 2.9% 3.2% 
North West £969 1.4% 7.4% 
Yorkshire & Humber £978 -0.3% 10.6% 
East Midlands £1,037 1.9% -1.5% 
West Midlands £985 -1.2% 4.2% 
Wales £973 1.9% 2.9% 
East of England £1,101 0.8% 7.5% 
London £1,062 2.0% 4.5% 
South East £1,041 3.2% 1.6% 
South West £942 -1.3% 2.3% 

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. We supply statistics to the Bank of England to keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour.

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