Freelance Builder Pay Trends: October 2023

Freelance Builder Pay Trends: October 2023

11th December 2023 | Hudson Contract

Fall in payments made by brickworks contractors highlights dangers facing housebuilding sector.

Hudson Contract has voiced concerns over the health of the housebuilding sector after October’s payroll statistics showed a marked decline in workload for bricklayers.

Our analysis showed an 11 per cent fall in the number of payments made to tradespeople by brickworks contractors in October 2023 compared to the same month last year.

Average earnings for self-employed tradespeople actually increased by 2.4 per cent to £1,000 per week during the month of October.

Commenting on the figures, Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “Average rates have increased in a slowing market because the most productive and highly skilled people are kept on while the younger improvers are let go.

“We saw the same thing happen following the financial crisis of 2008, it’s like history repeating itself. If contractors let people go and materials suppliers cut back on production, it will take a long time for the industry to recover.

“If it is official policy to slow down the housing market with high interest rates to control inflation, have the policymakers considered how difficult it is to speed it up again?

“Trying to control the housing market is like trying to turn an oil tanker against the tide. At first it seems like nothing is happening but then there’s no stopping it.

“If young people who are still learning their trade leave the industry, it will be very difficult to get them back and if materials production lines are mothballed and merchants closed, costs and inflation will simply bounce back to the levels that caused the intervention in the first place due to labour and material shortages.

“We welcome initiatives announced in the Autumn Statement to encourage housebuilding and infrastructure investment but there needs to be greater consistency in government policymaking and more ambitious interventions to help maintain capacity in the sector.”

Region October 2023 Average Month on Month % Change Year on Year % Change
North East £766 -0.3% 0.4%
North West £945 1.7% -0.2%
Yorkshire & Humber £947 2.3% 0.6%
East Midlands £1,014 1.3% 2.7%
West Midlands £985 1.1% 1.1%
Wales £1,041 2.7% 9.6%
East of England £1,103 4.3% 3.6%
London £1,045 3.1% 1.5%
South East £1,074 4.8% 4.6%
South West £966 1.7% -0.9%

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

October’s pay trends showed record weekly earnings for self-employed tradespeople in Wales (up 2.7 per cent to £1,041) and the South East (up 4.8 per cent to £1,074).

Our company is the biggest payer of subcontractors in the construction industry and provides audit, contract and payroll services to more than 2,600 SMEs, including many housebuilders and their suppliers.

We deliver 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 help keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour.

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