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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: June 2015

News and Views | 17th June 2015

Hudson Contract delivers the most accurate indications of pay trends across the construction industry, using payroll data for over 2,000 construction companies to publish the average pay for the full spectrum of 17 different trades across five regions.

Amid all the post-election talk of creating a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, it’s perhaps appropriate that earnings this month have risen in both the North-West and the North-East . . . and are down everywhere else.

Having said that, no single region has moved by more than 2% either way, so the pay stats remain pretty static. “It’s most likely because last month included two bank holidays plus half term, and some of our freelance builders most likely took the option of some short weeks,” comments Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield.

“Meanwhile, there certainly seems to be a mood of growing optimism in the wake of the Conservative’s decisive victory.”

Optimism reaches a nine-year high

The latest Markit/CIPS survey echoes the Hudson Contract experience – that many firms whose projects and spending went on hold in the run-up to the election are now going ahead, and positive sentiment is soaring to its highest level since February 2006.

“It’s certainly welcome news,” continues Ian Anfield. “But even though the recent trend has been down, I’m hearing from clients that pressures in the supply chain and shortage of skilled sub-contractors is still an issue for the industry – and likely to remain so for some time.”

Despite national statistics reporting growth in civil engineering during May, the Hudson Contract experience is different, with average earnings for subbies in this sector down across all regions by nearly 5%. Freelance builders working in demolition also saw a similar drop on three months previous.

And the only sector to see an increase across all regions this month is shopfitting, with those based in the South-East and North-West pushing past the £900-a-week threshold. “Shopfitters tend to be one of the best-paid trades, and if the economy really takes off, they will probably be first to be earning £1,000 a week on a regular basis,” Ian Anfield predicts.

This month’s winners:

  • Equipment and Operator Hire in the North-East: +18%
  • Specialist trades in the North-East: +18%
  • Shopfitters in the South-East: +16%

And the losers:

  • Electricians in the North-East: -20%
  • Plumbers in the North-West: -18%
  • Steel & Timber Frame Erectors in the South-West: -12%

Annual earnings for freelance builders

Compared to this time last year, earnings have increased in all five regions, with those in the North-East and the South-East - with rises of 10% and 9% respectively – doing best.

Average Weekly Earnings Year-on-Year

  North-East North-West Midlands South-East South-West
May 2015 £677.19 £650.51 £706.09 £734.67 £644.06
May 2014 £613.66 £624.46 £656.79 £673.30 £606.44
Difference Up £63.53 Up £26.05 Up £49.30 Up £61.37 Up £37.62

Subbies in the North-West are currently taking home only £26 a week more than they did this time last year – less than anywhere else – but continue to earn more than their counterparts in the South-West, whose £37 increase brings them to weekly earnings of £644, and means they continue to prop up the ‘league table’.

NORTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £595.33 £608.43 -2.15%
Civil Engineering £643.96 £672.33 -4.22%
Demolition £419.05 £439.77 -4.71%
Electrical £683.08 £857.33 -20.32%
Equipment & Operator hire £850.47 £718.63 18.35%
Fit out by specialist trades £815.27 £692.98 17.65%
General Construction £692.17 £700.07 -1.13%
Insulation £658.36 £652.97 0.83%
Joinery £661.08 £648.84 1.89%
Mechanical £651.08 £659.08 -1.21%
Plastering £808.11 £724.93 11.47%
Plumbing £664.37 £623.71 6.52%
Roofing £623.88 £669.46 -6.81%
Scaffolding £502.69 £551.37 -8.83%
Shopfitting £747.16 £729.47 2.43%
Steel & Timber frame erect £822.80 £759.29 8.36%
Surfacing contractors £673.37 £638.08 5.53%
Average £677.19 £667.46 1.46%

NORTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £572.86 £564.10 1.55%
Civil Engineering £594.19 £609.33 -2.48%
Demolition £684.99 £718.60 -4.68%
Electrical £792.88 £749.66 5.77%
Equipment & Operator hire £721.93 £698.08 3.42%
Fit out by specialist trades £707.70 £658.19 7.52%
General Construction £690.78 £725.15 -4.74%
Insulation £681.43 £643.23 5.94%
Joinery £705.20 £659.63 6.91%
Mechanical £531.86 £538.47 -1.23%
Plastering £438.48 £466.91 -6.09%
Plumbing £469.80 £573.88 -18.14%
Roofing £780.83 £739.22 5.63%
Scaffolding £545.07 £530.52 2.74%
Shopfitting £937.01 £840.48 11.49%
Steel & Timber frame erect £549.73 £556.13 -1.15%
Surfacing contractors £654.01 £598.64 9.25%
Average £650.51 £639.42 1.73%

MIDLANDS

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £633.08 £629.69 0.54%
Civil Engineering £698.47 £735.67 -5.06%
Demolition £707.33 £769.40 -8.07%
Electrical £702.01 £719.04 -2.37%
Equipment & Operator hire £659.80 £669.88 -1.50%
Fit out by specialist trades £778.03 £802.10 -3.00%
General Construction £667.18 £701.99 -4.96%
Insulation £644.84 £651.47 -1.02%
Joinery £767.47 £700.31 9.59%
Mechanical £724.72 £779.38 -7.01%
Plastering £688.20 £650.34 5.82%
Plumbing £803.16 £792.51 1.34%
Roofing £702.71 £641.55 9.53%
Scaffolding £595.06 £667.43 -10.84%
Shopfitting £848.83 £785.39 8.08%
Steel & Timber frame erect £601.63 £594.29 1.24%
Surfacing contractors £781.03 £791.54 -1.33%
Average £706.09 £710.70 -0.65%

SOUTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £635.41 £654.04 -2.85%
Civil Engineering £685.49 £721.23 -4.96%
Demolition £635.63 £637.00 -0.22%
Electrical £919.39 £943.83 -2.59%
Equipment & Operator hire £812.74 £807.38 0.66%
Fit out by specialist trades £672.40 £687.76 -2.23%
General Construction £678.89 £697.46 -2.66%
Insulation £734.42 £790.81 -7.13%
Joinery £817.68 £880.87 -7.17%
Mechanical £761.18 £780.66 -2.50%
Plastering £641.46 £681.35 -5.85%
Plumbing £872.59 £927.51 -5.92%
Roofing £658.66 £633.23 4.02%
Scaffolding £706.59 £725.35 -2.59%
Shopfitting £952.66 £816.08 16.74%
Steel & Timber frame erect £690.38 £613.16 12.59%
Surfacing contractors £613.86 £682.76 -10.09%
Average £734.67 £745.91 -1.51%

SOUTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £480.49 £461.47 4.12%
Civil Engineering £613.54 £658.28 -6.80%
Demolition £598.61 £641.46 -6.68%
Electrical £689.88 £655.10 5.31%
Equipment & Operator hire £560.67 £601.55 -6.80%
Fit out by specialist trades £651.14 £705.34 -7.68%
General Construction £603.46 £602.97 0.08%
Insulation £659.21 £642.21 2.65%
Joinery £746.35 £749.91 -0.47%
Mechanical £707.38 £686.25 3.08%
Plastering £678.85 £596.11 13.88%
Plumbing £635.37 £695.61 -8.66%
Roofing £687.96 £717.87 -4.17%
Scaffolding £632.96 £678.18 -6.67%
Shopfitting £784.26 £721.55 8.69%
Steel & Timber frame erect £670.54 £758.89 -11.64%
Surfacing contractors £548.38 £581.61 -5.71%
Average £644.06 £656.14 -1.84%

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 over the twelve weeks to 31st May 2015.