Freelance Builder Pay Trends: June 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.

Last month’s earnings drop has been more than reversed – with subbie earnings bouncing back across all regions during June, with a 6.8% month-on-month increase, to an average of £893 a week.

“It’s a welcome return to growth,” says Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield.  “The region with the strongest growth – at ten per cent – is the North-East, where freelance builder earnings lag behind the national average, so it’s good to see there’s plenty of work in that part of the country at present.

“And compared to this time last year, national earnings are up 4.6%, which is well above the rate of inflation.” 

National Weekly Average Earnings June 2019: £893
Region June 2019 Average Change from May 2019
North East £770.00 +10.0%
North West £848.00 +6.3%
Yorkshire & Humber £842.00 +8.9%
East Midlands £883.00 +4.3%
West Midlands £931.00 +6.0%
Wales £812.00 +6.0%
East of England £930.00 +6.5%
London £914.00 +7.2%
South East £904.00 +7.0%
South West £801.00 +8.8%

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

With earnings up across the board, it is no surprise all trades are also flourishing.  This month’s winners:

  • Demolition & Wrecking: +12.8%
    Back to their best
  • Roofing: +12.3%
    New three-year high
  • General Construction: +8.5%
    Strong showing across the country

Ian Anfield adds: “When you drill down into the numbers, a subbie in the East Midlands who specialises in mechanical and engineering work is currently earning the equivalent of £100,000 a year.”

This month’s national perspective, however, tells a different story.

On the one hand, demand for construction workers remained ‘relatively resilient’ with only a marginal decline in workforce numbers during June. But the all-important Construction Confidence Index has tumbled from 48.6 to 43.1 – which signals the sharpest contraction in the industry in the past ten years.

“There’s a definite loss in momentum across all three sectors in construction,” Ian Anfield says. “If I had a pound for every time I’ve said ‘Brexit uncertainty’ I could afford to retire. The current reality is that there’s a lack of new work – everything from delays to HS2 and motorway projects to smaller developments on local sites. Order books everywhere are lighter than anyone would wish.

“Nevertheless, the demand for skilled freelance talent remains. And as we have seen in the past, the ability to remain flexible and cost competitive when there’s less work to go round can be the difference between business as usual and bankruptcy for construction firms.”

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 June 2019.

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