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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: March 2016

News and Views | 11th April 2016

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 across five regions.

Earnings continued to rise in March across all five regions, although not quite at the levels seen between January and February.  The North leads the way, up more than 2 per cent, while at national level, the increase is an average of 1.46% - which works out at just over £10 a week.

Weekly Average Earnings, March 2016:  £814.25

Regional Averages

North-East

North-West

Midlands

South-East

South-West

£733.66

£757.49

£892.59

£890.26

£797.27

This month’s highest earners include shopfitters in the South-West and plumbers in the Midlands, with weekly earnings of  £1,395 and £1,334 respectively.  Joiners in the South-East and South-West have stepped up to the £1,000 per week club, while at the other of the scale, plasterers in the North-West had a poor month:  their average earnings have fallen to £495 a week.

The latest survey by Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI shows the construction industry has now been in growth for almost three years, which should be something to shout about.   But the picture is not entirely rosy.  Housebuilding – for so long the sector pace-setter – has tumbled to its lowest levels in 36 months.

Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield comments:  “Although the  government continues to provide incentives for housebuilding – and for buyers - the shortage of skilled labour is an issue that has yet to be solved, and contractors continue to stress they are building as fast as they can.  The overall growth level remains the same as February, thanks to increases in commercial projects and civil engineering activity.”

Review of Q1 2016

National average earnings are up 6.9% since 1 January 2016.  Those who have maintained earnings of £1,000+ p.w. for the entire quarter are:

  • Shopfitters in the North-West, Midlands and South-West
  • Insulation in the North-West
  • Plumbers in the Midlands
  • Electricians in the South-East

Q1 Winners

  • Shopfitters in the South-East:  +40%
  • Demolition in the South-West:  +35%
  • Steel & Timber Frame Erectors : +29%

Q1 Losers

  • Joiners in the North-East:  -12%
  • Scaffolders in the North-East:  -11%
  • Insulation in the South-West:  -11%

Ian Anfield says:   “The year is off to a good start and it’s great to see average earnings rising well above inflation during the first three months of the year.  But I think it’s too soon to celebrate.  While those who are self-employed are generally doing well, there are some question marks hanging over the industry, and that makes us all cautious. 

“Many firms put projects on hold in the run-up to last year’s general election, and in similar vein, I think the referendum is causing similar uncertainty.  If we vote to leave the EU and introduce new restrictions on migrant labour, the industry’s skills gap will get a lot wider.  Add this to the general uncertainty about business and the economy, and its small wonder that people are choosing to delay projects.  Judging by the conversations I’m having with clients, there is still positivity in construction, but contractors are also exercising sensible caution.”

This month’s key trend:  Earnings continue to rise – but the outlook is less certain

NORTH-EAST March 2016
BRICKLAYING £634.62
CIVIL ENGINEERING £683.14
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £541.19
ELECTRICAL £800.25
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £848.02
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £742.13
INSULATION £737.50
JOINERY £783.13
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £979.09
PLASTERING £667.61
PLUMBING £657.11
ROOF COVERINGS £686.26
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £508.43
SHOPFITTING £821.35
SPECIALIST TRADES £835.83
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £769.55
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £776.96
REGIONAL AVERAGE £733.66
NORTH WEST March 2016
BRICKLAYING £667.88
CIVIL ENGINEERING £709.98
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £759.42
ELECTRICAL £792.83
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £703.61
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £776.40
INSULATION £1,174.53
JOINERY £761.77
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £721.66
PLASTERING £495.00
PLUMBING £639.17
ROOF COVERINGS £869.95
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £531.88
SHOPFITTING £1,115.82
SPECIALIST TRADES £878.24
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £685.64
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £593.62
REGIONAL AVERAGE £757.49
MIDLANDS March 2016
BRICKLAYING £977.18
CIVIL ENGINEERING £846.52
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £841.53
ELECTRICAL £1,133.20
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £848.18
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £879.42
INSULATION £696.17
JOINERY £855.99
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £814.11
PLASTERING £832.58
PLUMBING £1,334.40
ROOF COVERINGS £718.66
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £741.61
SHOPFITTING £1,171.83
SPECIALIST TRADES £939.16
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £769.86
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £773.58
REGIONAL AVERAGE £892.59

 

SOUTH-EAST March 2016
BRICKLAYING £685.61
CIVIL ENGINEERING £750.46
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £1,056.05
ELECTRICAL £1,225.48
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £807.64
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £829.17
INSULATION £987.88
JOINERY £1,008.19
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £966.83
PLASTERING £905.27
PLUMBING £1,018.58
ROOF COVERINGS £726.06
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £875.49
SHOPFITTING £1,028.92
SPECIALIST TRADES £888.58
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £678.93
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £695.24
REGIONAL AVERAGE £890.26
SOUTH WEST March 2016
BRICKLAYING £671.39
CIVIL ENGINEERING £669.30
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £1,226.90
ELECTRICAL £660.69
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £666.48
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £807.91
INSULATION £583.50
JOINERY £1,020.21
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £847.29
PLASTERING £679.99
PLUMBING £796.68
ROOF COVERINGS £691.59
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £690.56
SHOPFITTING £1,395.32
SPECIALIST TRADES £808.68
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £651.64
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £685.41
REGIONAL AVERAGE £797.27