Freelance Builder Pay Trends: July 2020

SMEs bounce back faster than their large counterparts

Smaller construction companies are leading the recovery from the economic downturn, according to our analysis.

As the industry’s biggest payer of subcontractors, our payroll data provides a unique insight into demand for labour.

Our findings show that SMEs appear to have bounced back faster than their large counterparts. They are using 21 per cent fewer subcontractors than the week before lockdown. Large firms meanwhile have cut 30 per cent of subcontractors.

Recovery by size graph

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “SMEs are leading the recovery in the construction industry.

“Smaller companies are proving more resilient, agile and adaptive to the new circumstances and are investing in skilled subcontractors to retain productive labour and finish jobs.

“They will help Britain to build the new homes and infrastructure we need to ensure a sustainable economic recovery.”

Mr Anfield added: “By contrast, large construction firms tend to work on more complex projects which have been hit harder by the downturn.

“They are also reporting a shortage of labour as a result of generous Government support schemes.”

The activity levels of large firms have recovered since the depths of lockdown when the average number of subcontractors paid fell by 77 per cent.

The average number used by smaller firms dipped by 66 per cent.

We compared the average number of freelance tradespeople paid in the weeks commencing March 16, April 20 and July 20.

The analysis reflects the labour demands of micro, small, medium and large companies that continued to operate during the period.

Overall, average weekly earnings for subcontractors recovered by 4.8 per cent to £889 during the month of July, the highest number since March.

 

National weekly average earnings July 2020: £889
Region July 2020 Average Month on Month % Change Year on Year % Change
North East £750 -1.3% -3.6% 
North West £825 2.2% -5.4% 
Yorkshire & Humber £836 9.9% -3.6% 
East Midlands £876 7.4% -7.1% 
West Midlands £922 3.9% -6.2% 
Wales £915 12.0% 12.0% 
East of England £966 7.8% 1.9% 
London £899 -2.8% -2.1% 
South East £958 7.8% 3.8% 
South West £880 0.2% 8.8% 

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

The best-performing regions were Wales (up 12 per cent), Yorkshire and the Humber (up 9.9 per cent) and the East of England and South East (both up 7.8 per cent).

Hudson delivers the most accurate indication of subcontractor pay trends across the con-struction 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.

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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