Freelance Builder Pay Trends: March 2022

Cost of labour hits all-time high on London building sites

Labour rates on building sites broke records in London last month as average weekly earnings for self-employed tradespeople hit £1,027 during March. That’s according to our payroll – the biggest in the UK construction industry. 

Latest figures show subbies also enjoyed record earnings in the East Midlands (£1,070) and the South West (£934). Across England and Wales, earnings increased by 0.9 per cent to £959, matching the all-time high seen in December. 

 

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “For pay to reach these levels at this time of year when building sites are usually dogged by bad weather suggests this is going to be a strong year for workload and earnings. While there are still huge issues around inflation, fuel and materials which can only be made worse by the war in Ukraine, the construction industry is still running at full capacity.

“People have built up cash reserves for deposits on new homes and renovation projects, developers are creating new models for shared ownership schemes and the housing sector has not yet replenished the supply that was lost after the financial crisis in 2007.

“There is still huge pent-up demand for housing in the UK and there is still a shortage of skilled workers. Our clients are flat-out with full order books though as we saw in February, there are not quite as many tenders coming through the door.”

Subcontractors who specialise in demolition and wrecking saw the biggest monthly increase at 8.1 per cent to £938 per week, followed by shop fitting (5.3 per cent at £1,096) and steel and timber frames (3.9 per cent at £979). Plumbers enjoyed the highest earnings of all trades at £1,139 per week.

Mr Anfield said: “Some of our clients are finding they can pass on increases costs to their clients, especially if their contracts include price escalation clauses. Others are having to suck it up. One of our groundworks customers are saying that inflation is running at 15 per cent for them in labour, plant, red diesel and materials. If they had relied on direct employment instead of Hudson Contract, they would be facing a further 1.25 per cent increase in National Insurance contributions.”

Region March 2022 Average Month on Month % Change Year on Year % Change
North East £759 1.5% -3.7% 
North West £908 -0.2% 0.8% 
Yorkshire & Humber £936 4.3% 9.0% 
East Midlands £1,070 2.7% 10.5% 
West Midlands £932 -0.5% 0.5% 
Wales £893 -5.1% 7.2% 
East of England £996 0.7% -2.0% 
London £1,027 2.7% 13.1% 
South East £1,005 1.0% 3.6% 
South West £934 0.3% 5.4% 

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

Hudson Contract is the UK’s largest provider of tax status and employment contract services to the construction industry with group annual revenues approaching £1.8 billion and a client base of more than 2,500 construction SMEs.

We deliver 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. We supply statistics to the Bank of England to keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour.

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