Freelance Builder Pay Trends: October 2019

Freelance Builder Pay Trends: October 2019

12th November 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.

It’s been a good month for subbies as autumn gets underway.  Earnings for October are up by 2.5%, which translates to an average of £911 a week. 

“That’s the second highest figure of the year, bettered only by a peak of £920 during July, which is traditionally high because of the long summer days and fine weather,” says Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield. “Earnings are up across the board, in all ten regions.”

Top earners are in the West Midlands – on £981 a week – but in percentage terms, the best-performing region is the South West, with a 4.5% earnings leap to £835. 

“It’s worth noting that there are a number of major construction projects in progress in this part of the world, including the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, and the regeneration of the 19th century Brooks Dye Works in Bristol,” Ian Anfield adds.

National Weekly Average Earnings October 2019: £911
Region October 2019 Average Change from September 2019
North East £779.00 0.8%
North West £862.00 2.7%
Yorkshire & Humber £850.00 3.0%
East Midlands £931.00 2.5%
West Midlands £981.00 3.3%
Wales £799.00 0.4%
East of England £945.00 3.2%
London £888.00 0.2%
South East £920.00 2.6%
South West £835.00 4.5%

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

This month’s winners:

  • Steel & Timber Frame Erection: +8.3%
    Bouncing back from September’s dip
  • Electrical:  +5.8%
    The best-ever month for electricians since our records began!
  • General Construction:  +5.1%
    Good solid growth


And the losers:

  • Specialist Trades: -7.1%
    Losses in the North West and South West
  • Roofing:  -2.3%
    Likely to do better as we go into winter
  • Bricklaying:  -0.2%
    £2 a week worse off

Nationally, however, it’s a different picture.  Although this month’s IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index has risen to 44.2 in October from 43.3 in September, the figure is the third-worst in the past two years – with civil engineering activity falling at the sharpest pace in an entire decade.

“There is no doubt construction needs certainty,” Ian Anfield comments.  “The next government could change spending plans or tighten up on planning regulations, which might lead to a slowdown in investment.  Nevertheless, our clients are busy, and competing to find skilled subbies.  And Hudson Contract’s data is not the sentiment of 150 purchasing managers.  Ours is hard figures from 2,200 dynamic SMEs that are run by owner-managers who are in complete control of their businesses.

“Yes, the election and failure to resolve Brexit is prolonging the uncertainty.  But every year, construction companies rush to get projects finished by the year end with contractors wanting to get their money in and earn as much as they can before Christmas and the bad weather sets in.  So hopefully, the strong start to the final quarter of the year will continue.”

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 October 2019.

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