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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: August 2017

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 business as usual during August – which is to say three typical trends emerged:

  1. No noticeable change in the national pay trends from July
  2. The weather was a mix of sunshine and showers – very heavy in some places
  3. Subbies took the opportunity to take time off and enjoy a summer holiday

“We see this every year,” observes Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield.  "August is always a holding month, before everyone gears up for a big push towards the Christmas break."

The only exception to the rule came as welcome news in the North-East, where earnings jumped by over 5%, or £39 p.w. 

National Weekly Average Earnings August 2017: £852

Region August 2017 Average Change from July 2017
North East £740.00 +5.27%
North West £790.00 +2.03%
Yorkshire & Humber £803.00 +2.86%
East Midlands £867.00 +0.35%
West Midlands £876.00 -0.80%
Wales £774.00 +1.16%
East of England £930.00 -0.32%
London £848.00 -1.53%
South East £857.00 -1.40%
South West £760.00 -1.97%

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

Individual Trades - Winners and Losers:

Equally, earnings for individual trades showed less variation than usual during August.  This month’s winners are:

  • Shopfitting:  +3.0%
    North-West and North-East leading the way
  • Plastering:  +2.4%
    London and Wales shaping up nicely
  • Equipment & Operator Hire:  +2.2%
    On the up in the East Midlands 

Meanwhile, those in the South have taken a small hit:

  • Surfacing Contractors:  -1.8%
    Wales hit hardest but still averaging over £1,200
  • Steel & Timber Frame Erection:  -1.2%
    London and the South-East slowing down
  • Joinery:  -1.1%
    Drop of £11-a-week

Nationally, the HS2 contracts – equating to £6.6bn – were signed during August, which is excellent news for the civil engineering sector. General activity, however, also indicates a summer slowdown, with activity at its lowest in the year during August.

According to the latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) reduced levels of commercial work failed to compensate continuing growth in housebuilding, whilst civils has been standing still.

“As time passes, the HS2 contract will certainly filter down to the tier two and three contractors, but the latest data indicates the industry as a whole is treading water,” Ian Anfield says. 

Housebuilding: Excellent progress over the past 12 months

“However it’s good to see the latest housebuilding data from the Department for Communities & Local Government shows 164,960 new homes were started in the year to June 2017.  That’s thirteen per cent up on the previous year and a big step in the right direction. 

“September is now set to be a pivotal month, given that the PMI indicates the industry is bracing itself for a soft patch ahead.  It’s fair to say progress on the Brexit negotiations is going to play a role in determining whether projects go ahead or are put on hold.

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 August 2017.

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