Freelance Builder Pay Trends: January 2022

Strong demand for subbies continues in 2022; Some housebuilders adopt more cautious approach

Strong demand for skilled tradespeople has continued into the new year but there are signs that some housebuilders could be adopting a more cautious outlook. That’s according to our latest data, which represents the biggest payroll in the construction industry.

Year-on-year, labour rates on building sites increased by 3.2 per cent to £863 per week during January. Average earnings fell by 10 per cent month on month, in keeping with the seasonally slow start to the new year.

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “The 3.2 per cent year-on-year rise is consistent with high demand and high rates for self-employed tradespeople. Our clients are saying they are still busy but more than one or two are also telling us it’s not as difficult to find skilled labour and the 2021 flood of tender documents coming through the door has settled to a steady stream this year.

“In the run-up to Christmas, it felt like housebuilders had their foot flat to the floor. They have not exactly put the brakes on since, but they have definitely eased off on the accelerator. It seems some housebuilders are concerned about the impact of inflation and the ability of potential buyers to borrow the money to purchase the homes they are going to build.”

Region January 2022 Average Month on Month % Change Year on Year % Change
North East £650 -12.6% -6.6% 
North West £812 -10.0% -1.6% 
Yorkshire & Humber £782 -11.5% 4.0% 
East Midlands £1,010 -4.1% 12.6% 
West Midlands £831 -12.1% -1.2% 
Wales £854 -9.6% -1.5% 
East of England £925 -9.7% 5.5% 
London £922 -9.3% 8.0% 
South East £894 -12.8% 2.8% 
South West £825 -10.4% 1.4% 

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

Our findings are in line with the latest Bank of England monetary policy report which reported that output growth had weakened due to shortages in material and labour while increased costs had weighed on demand in a few cases. The Construction Products Association noted that annual inflation in UK construction materials reached 21.5 per cent in December.

With a client base of 2,500 construction SMEs, we deliver the most accurate indication of subcontractor pay trends in the industry, publishing the average pay for a spectrum of 17 different trades split across 10 regions in England and Wales. Hudson Contract supplies statistics to the Bank of England to keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour.

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