Freelance Builder Pay Trends: July 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.

Subbies across the country are now regularly earning over £1,000 a week – with seven trades in this month’s ‘four figure’ club.  And our latest figures show it’s been another good month everywhere, with average earnings up 3%. 

“It’s been another solid month,” says Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield.  “And all the more so when you consider that this is over and above the 6.8% earnings growth we saw in June.”

The average subbie grossed £920 a week during July.  While those in ‘elite’ trades –electrical, demolition, joinery, mechanical and engineering, shopfitting, and specialists – earned between £1,040 (demolition) and £1,161 (shopfitting). 

“Shopfitters are the undisputed earnings kings,” Ian Anfield continues.  “Their pay rates have been topping £1,000-a-week for more than two years.  And now other trades are catching them up.  Take a freelance plumber’s earnings of £1,139, for instance.  That’s equivalent to an annual salary just short of £60,000, which puts these subbies into the top 6% of households by income.”

Regionally, this month the East Midlands was Hudson Contract’s star performer with earnings rising by almost 7%, followed by the West Midlands, and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Ian Anfield adds:  “Summer months usually see increases, partly because of the good weather and the long hours of daylight.  But having said that, average subbie earnings are up by 4.3%, year on year, comfortably outperforming inflation.”

National Weekly Average Earnings July 2019: £920
Region July 2019 Average Change from June 2019
North East £778.00 +1.0%
North West £872.00 +2.8%
Yorkshire & Humber £867.00 +3.0%
East Midlands £943.00 +6.8%
West Midlands £983.00 +5.6%
Wales £817.00 +0.6%
East of England £948.00 +1.9%
London £918.00 +0.4%
South East £923.00 +2.1%
South West £809.00 +1.0%

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

This month’s winners:

  • Surfacing Contractors: +9.3%
    Traffic cone alert!
  • Insulation:  +6.2%
    It’s about keeping the heat out
  • Civil Engineering:  +4.5%
    Strong showing across the country

And the losers:

  • Steel & Timber Frame Erection: -6.8%
    Down in all regions
  • Demolition & Wrecking:  -3.4%
    Levelling out from last month’s high
  • Scaffolding & Lifting:  -1.6%
    Marginal drop

Looking at the bigger picture for construction, the Federation of Master Builders has just published research from more than 300 general builders or building contractors with a maximum of ten employees and a turnover of less than £500,000.  They report that while workloads are currently on the rise, firms are bracing themselves for a downturn and preparing already by reducing their direct employment numbers and taking on extra subbies.

The latest Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) survey for the industry is equally cautious, reporting the third consecutive month of reduced output, with all three construction sectors worried about Brexit, the prospect of a general election and delays to infrastructure work.

“Construction companies are seeing the need to be flexible, agile and able to respond positively to changing circumstances,” Ian Anfield says.  “The current opportunity is enabling skilled subbies to earn a premium for their valuable services while they are busy building the housing and infrastructure our country needs.”

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 July 2019.

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