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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: December 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.

Snow in December – along with the mid-month cold snap – seems to have frozen monthly earnings at the end of 2017.

“Sites across the country have fallen victim to the impact of the weather, hitting different regions at different times of the month,” says Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield.

“Storm Caroline and Storm Dylan were additional handicaps, and a few clients advised that December had been a complete wipe out. For most, though, the disruption was short-lived and it was business as usual a week later. During all of this, national average earnings stayed more or less the same as November. So when you consider December is always a busy month for our clients, holding level, despite the weather trying to scupper the plans, isn’t too bad.”

In the South-West, where weather was less disruptive, it was a Merry Christmas for subbies, with an increase of almost six per cent – equivalent to an extra £50 a week. But at the opposite end of the country, those in the North-East dropped by a similar percentage, leaving them £30 a week worse off.

National Weekly Average Earnings December 2017: £869

Region December 2017 Average Change from November 2017
North East £730.00 -6.85%
North West £790.00 +3.54%
Yorkshire & Humber £823.00 -0.85%
East Midlands £904.00 -0.11%
West Midlands £896.00 -0.22%
Wales £763.00 -3.15%
East of England £927.00 -1.62%
London £877.00 +0.34%
South East £869.00 -1.96%
South West £828.00 +5.92%

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

Looking at the trends on a trade-by-trade basis, December winners are:

  • Steel & Timber Frame Erection:  +5.8%
    Leading for the second successive month
  • Specialist Trades:  +2.7%
    Strong gains in the South-East
  • Plumbing+2.5%
    A good month in the South-West

And the losers:

  • Shopfitting:  -6.6%
    But earnings continue to be over £1,100 per week
  • Demolition & Wrecking:  -6.4%
    Dropping below the £1,000 per week mark for the first time in four months
  • Equipment & Operator Hire:  -5.7%
    A big lull in Yorkshire & Humber

Turning to the national picture, December’s IHS Markit/CIPS report showed a slight slowdown, although still maintaining growth for the third consecutive month. The number of housebuilding projects continued along with a return to growth for civil engineering.

“It’s also noteworthy that across the board, construction firms have been bringing in supplies to match the growth, to the extent that the quantity of purchases section of the index reached a two-year high in December,” Ian Anfield says.  “Equally, I’ve been getting feedback from some clients about an upturn in new orders, which hopefully will translate into a positive few months as 2018 progresses.”

Read Ian Anfield’s 2017 Review and 2018 Predictions here

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 December 2017.

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