Freelance Builder Pay Trends: December 2020

Seasonal cycle sticks to the script

Earnings for tradespeople continued to grow last month as December stayed true as the busiest and best period for subcontractors.

Hudson Contract said average weekly pay rose by 1.1 per cent during December to £911, the highest level since February and the fourth consecutive month of earnings growth for self-employed subcontractors.

The best-performing regions were the North West (up 9.1 per cent), the South East (up 4.1 per cent) and the North East (up 2.6 per cent).

Region December 2020 Average Month on Month % Change Year on Year % Change
North East £838 2.6% 9.1% 
North West £912 9.1% 4.8% 
Yorkshire & Humber £847 -0.6% -4.3% 
East Midlands £946 2.5% 0.6% 
West Midlands £874 -6.3% -14.3% 
Wales £870 -0.9% 4.9% 
East of England £985 0.1% -2.6% 
London £903 -0.4% -1.8% 
South East £966 4.1% -1.7% 
South West £898 0.3% 2.7% 

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson, said: “December has always been the busiest and best month of the year for subcontractors because everyone is pushing to finish projects and earn their money for Christmas.

“In that respect, it was business as usual last month, albeit nearly ten per cent down on 2019 as a lingering result of the pandemic.

“Most clients are reporting healthy order books and tenders are still coming in. The outlook is promising so far but obviously things can change quickly.

“There is some uncertainty around the supply of materials due to Brexit. There is also some disruption to the supply of labour due to a combination of Brexit and Covid as different nations apply different approaches on travel to England.”

Meanwhile, Hudson’s analysis of 2020 pay trends highlighted the challenges facing young people in the industry.

Our data showed the number of tradespeople in their twenties working in construction fell by 10 per cent last year.

Ian said: “It is vital for government to keep the industry working through the pandemic and to continue to support the housing market so that we can get these people back on site. If not, what happens in five years’ time? Where is the pipeline of skilled workers we need to deliver new housing and infrastructure?”

You can read the story in full over at The Yorkshire Post.

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. We are supplying statistics to the Bank of England to keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour.

Last month’s winners:

Roofing +7.2%
Mechanical and engineering +6.1%
Steel and timber frame +5.1%

Losers:

Plastering -8.1%
Electrical -3.0%
Demolition and wrecking -2.9%

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 2020.

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