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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: April 2019

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.

A poor month for subbie earnings – with decreases everywhere except the North-West, but nothing out of the ordinary compared to previous years.

“You could say April is often a cruel month for construction’s self-employed workers,” Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield observes.  “Earnings do drop.  But the fact they have dropped every April since 2014 suggests there is more going on than a Brexit related downturn - which is what many seem to credit with any negative news.

“This April, as well as some businesses holding back on investment due to Brexit uncertainty, working days were lost as a result of the Easter bank holidays and poor weather.

“Last month's dip amounts to a drop of 1.6% of subby earnings, whereas in previous years it has averaged around 5%. So not great, but nothing to panic about, and with good weather forecast for the rest of May, the subbies will no doubt make up lost ground.”

National Weekly Average Earnings April 2019: £885
Region April 2019 Average Change from March 2019
North East £764.00 -2.1%
North West £837.00 +4.5%
Yorkshire & Humber £819.00 -2.7%
East Midlands £902.00 -1.1%
West Midlands £934.00 -2.1%
Wales £789.00 -4.1%
East of England £928.00 -3.8%
London £899.00 -0.4%
South East £886.00 -1.9%
South West £787.00 -3.0%

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

April Winners

  • Specialist Trades: +11.7%
    New entry into the £1,000 per week club
  • Steel & Timber Frame Erection: +6.1%
    Bouncing back from last month’s drop
  • Demolition & Wrecking: +2.9%
    Month-on-month growth continues

April Losers:

  • Shopfitting: -9.4%
    Big drop, but earnings remain over £1,000 per week
  • Insulation: -5.4%
    Down for the second successive month
  • Equipment & Operator Hire: -3.4%
    April weekly earnings down £29

From a national perspective, this month’s IHS Markit/CIPS survey reports increased housebuilding activity against a backdrop of stagnation in the commercial and civil engineering sectors, with business optimism said to be at its worst for six years.

Ian Anfield concludes:  “Whatever happens with Brexit and the wider economy will be mirrored in the construction industry. However, the construction industry will continue to rely on subbies and their ability to supply specialist labour.  Their overall rise in earnings over the last Brexit-ridden year highlights the general shortage of skilled trades and the economic benefit that freelancers give to firms that want to remain cost competitive and flexible in their deployment of 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 April 2019.

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