Freelance Builder Pay Trends: March

Freelance Builder Pay Trends: March

9th April 2020 | Hudson Contract

Pay trends show 2.9 per cent decrease in earnings as virus impact starts to be felt

  • Hudson Contract continues to closely monitor the effects of the coronavirus lockdown on the construction sector

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.

Average earnings for freelancers fell by 2.9 per cent last month. Analysis of payroll data for more than 2,200 construction companies in England and Wales shows a weekly average of £897 for freelancers in March, down from £924 in February.

We will review April’s figures at the end of the month and share our latest industry insights with the Bank of England.

The Government imposed a wide-ranging social and economic lockdown on March 23 but has said the construction sector can continue to work under new site operating procedures developed by the Construction Leadership Council.

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “Our thoughts first and foremost are with those construction workers and their families who have been affected by this terrible virus.

“We are closely monitoring the impact on the industry through our bellwether pay trends survey and are sharing our insights with the Bank of England so policymakers are best placed to respond to the rapidly changing situation.

National Weekly Average Earnings March 2020: £897
Region March 2020 Average Month on Month Change Year on Year Change
North East £713 -6.9% -8.6% 
North West £858 -2.5% 7.1% 
Yorkshire & Humber £948 14.4% 12.6% 
East Midlands £925 -2.6% 1.4% 
West Midlands £827 -16.5% -13.3% 
Wales £942 17.5% 14.5% 
East of England £966 0.0% 0.1% 
London £890 -2.6% -1.4% 
South East £933 0.1% 3.3% 
South West £898 4.7% 10.7% 


To view our interactive pay trends map click here

“The latest survey from purchasing managers shows the steepest fall in construction output since the fallout from the global financial crisis in 2009 although housebuilding dropped at a comparatively modest rate.

“However, we know from speaking to clients and freelancers that most housebuilding sites are now closed. Essential infrastructure and utility repair work are continuing but planned upgrades are stuttering.

“Work on government and privately funded projects stopped while the main contractors and our clients took stock and worked on safe working methods. They are now ready to open up again and test whether work can be done safely.

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

Wales, Yorkshire and the South West all saw strong growth in average earnings during March while the West Midlands, the North East and London led the fall in earnings.


This month’s winners:

  • Bricklaying +3.6 per cent

  • Equipment and operator hire +1.7 per cent

  • Shopfitting +1.7 per cent

This month's losers:

  • Demolition and wrecking -20.9 per cent

  • Scaffolding and lifting -18.4 per cent

  •  Plumbing -12.7 per cent

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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