Freelance Builder Pay Trends: October 2021

Freelance Builder Pay Trends: October 2021

11th November 2021 | Hudson Contract

Labour cost inflation starting to level off

Labour cost inflation in the construction industry is starting to level off, according to our latest analysis of pay trends. Average weekly earnings for self-employed tradespeople increased by 1.5 per cent to £927 during October.


As the sector’s biggest payer of subcontractors, we are seeing a gradual return to normality in the industry with demand for labour mirroring seasonal trends seen before the pandemic. The period from September to December is traditionally the busiest period with tradespeople doing as much work as they can before the festive break and the cold weather.

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “Our figures suggest the industry is steadily recovering its labour capacity. It could be that some of the lower-skilled guys found it easier to drive delivery vans than work on building sites but they are slowly coming back. It could also be that some of the higher-skilled guys have been collecting the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and were working off-grid or have just taken some time off, so the end of the scheme will see them return to sites.

“We can see that labour rates are starting to level off. There is a lot of activity and people are coming back to work and moving themselves around the country.”

The comments are in line with the latest purchasing managers index for the construction industry which suggested the worst phase of the supply crunch may have passed.

Mr Anfield added: “The housing market is showing no signs of letting up with the average price of a new home hitting £250,000 despite the end of the stamp duty holiday. Housebuilders are waiting to see whether any interest rate rises will affect activity but fundamentally there is strong pent-up demand for new housing and renovation projects and the government is driving ahead with new infrastructure and regeneration schemes as part of its levelling-up agenda.”


Region October 2021 Average Month on Month % Change Year on Year % Change
North East £792 1.3% 5.0% 
North West £848 -4.4% -3.1% 
Yorkshire & Humber £880 9.3% 5.0% 
East Midlands £974 -3.8% 5.0% 
West Midlands £931 1.5% 1.7% 
Wales £939 0.8% 5.3% 
East of England £997 1.4% 1.0% 
London £946 0.9% 11.4% 
South East £974 3.9% 5.1% 
South West £909 7.1% 7.0% 

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

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

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 2021.

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