Freelance Builder Pay Trends: March 2021

Construction has bounced back as Covid restrictions continue to ease

Our pay trends analysis shows self-employed tradespeople have enjoyed their best month for earnings since the start of the pandemic.

The industry is growing at its fastest pace since 2014, spurred on by housebuilding, the restart of commercial projects and an increasingly optimistic economic outlook, according to a closely watched survey of purchasing managers.

Average weekly pay rose by 3.7 per cent to £920 during March, the highest figure since February 2020. This is 57 per cent higher than the median weekly pay for full-time employees.

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “Our latest figures show that self-employed tradespeople are reaping the rewards for their enterprise and efforts.

“Many have carried on during lockdowns to safely deliver the housing and infrastructure that Britain relies on and are now helping to secure the economic recovery.

“Self-employment in construction offers financial freedom and flexibility for skilled individuals and enables projects to be completed on time and on budget.”

Hudson supplies audit, contract and payroll services to 2,500 construction SMEs and is the biggest provider of its kind, giving the company a unique insight into the health of the sector.

Mr Anfield said: “We continue to see strong demand for skilled labour on building sites and many of our clients are reporting full order books.

“The housing market is booming due to the stamp duty holiday and the government is committed to infrastructure spending across the UK.”


The best-performing regions for earnings growth last month were Yorkshire and the Humber (+7.5%), the East of England (+5%) and the West Midlands (+4.9%).

Weekly earnings reached all-time highs in the East of England (£1,016) and the East Midlands (£968) during March. All regions except Wales had month-on-month earnings growth.

Region March 2021 Average Month on Month % Change Year on Year % Change
North East £788 2.3% 10.5% 
North West £901 2.9% 5.0% 
Yorkshire & Humber £859 7.5% -8.3% 
East Midlands £968 3.6% 4.6% 
West Midlands £927 4.9% 12.1% 
Wales £833 -2.1% -11.6% 
East of England £1,016 5.0% 5.2% 
London £908 3.2% 2.0% 
South East £970 3.1% 4.0% 
South West £886 2.9% -1.3% 

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

Hudson delivers the most accurate indication of subcontractor pay trends across the construction industry, publishing the average pay for a spectrum of 17 different trades split across 10 regions in England and Wales.

Our family-owned company supplies statistics to the Bank of England to keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour.

The latest ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings showed median weekly pay for full-time employees was £586.

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 2021.

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