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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: May 2016

News and Views | 14th June 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.

Something a little unusual this month.  While the construction industry as a whole appears to have gone into hibernation, pending the outcome of the referendum, earnings for labour-only subbies are bucking the trend – and earnings are up.

“Perhaps it’s the outcome of a sunny month with less-than-average rainfall, enabling freelance builders to work longer hours,” suggests Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield. “Using subbies on their sites gives contractors the flexibility to take on immediate projects, without the obligation to make long-term financial commitments.  Having said that, it doesn’t happen often that earnings for those who are self-employed rise when the sector as a whole falters.”

Hudson Contract’s latest data reveals monthly earnings are up in four out of our five regions, with an average increase of £10 a week for subbies.

Weekly Average Earnings, May 2016: £807.44

Regional Averages

North-East

North-West

Midlands

South-East

South-West

£714.60

£763.95

£886.35

£877.44

£794.84

The average earnings figure takes a typical labour-only subbie back above £800 a week and nearly back to the levels seen in March.  For the second successive month, the ‘poor relations’ are scaffolders in the North-East earning a weekly  average of £484 – £3 up on last month, but the only trade group anywhere in the country to earn less than £500 a week. 

By contrast, shopfitters in the Midlands and the South-West are on over £1,400 a week. 

Also in the Midlands, and notable this month, those working in specialist trades have broken through the £1,000-a-week barrier for the first time this year.

In terms of the industry as a whole, the latest survey from Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI reveals construction output is at its weakest for three years.

Ian Anfield observes:  “New orders for building work were down in May for the first time in almost two years.  But by all accounts the downturn is temporary,  and driven by the uncertainties of the referendum. Firms are reluctant to place orders or start contracts until the votes are counted.  Once there’s an outcome and we know which direction we are heading in, the demand for skilled labour will again intensify.”

This month’s key trend:  Plenty of work for subbies – but EU Referendum uncertainties put projects on hold

NORTH-EAST May 2016
BRICKLAYING £650.59
CIVIL ENGINEERING £649.66
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £503.05
ELECTRICAL £749.55
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £878.98
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £729.55
INSULATION £654.26
JOINERY £769.25
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £867.67
PLASTERING £663.03
PLUMBING £626.58
ROOF COVERINGS £642.69
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £483.90
SHOPFITTING £834.76
SPECIALIST TRADES £875.56
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £865.84
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £703.37
REGIONAL AVERAGE £714.60

 

NORTH-WEST May 2016
BRICKLAYING £639.38
CIVIL ENGINEERING £683.97
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £765.54
ELECTRICAL £782.56
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £692.66
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £765.27
INSULATION £1,376.51
JOINERY £737.94
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £721.11
PLASTERING £550.00
PLUMBING £624.17
ROOF COVERINGS £841.94
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £509.09
SHOPFITTING £1,075.92
SPECIALIST TRADES £825.42
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £852.58
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £543.15
REGIONAL AVERAGE £763.95

 

MIDLAND May 2016
BRICKLAYING £841.90
CIVIL ENGINEERING £790.53
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £794.22
ELECTRICAL £1,147.22
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £919.67
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £881.59
INSULATION £685.28
JOINERY £841.66
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £860.89
PLASTERING £754.23
PLUMBING £1,284.19
ROOF COVERINGS £688.36
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £692.55
SHOPFITTING £1,414.44
SPECIALIST TRADES £1,029.34
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £719.17
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £722.78
REGIONAL AVERAGE £886.35

 

SOUTH-EAST May 2016
BRICKLAYING £685.16
CIVIL ENGINEERING £726.68
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £1,061.39
ELECTRICAL £1,133.29
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £792.53
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £783.70
INSULATION £992.16
JOINERY £984.91
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £956.87
PLASTERING £897.04
PLUMBING £988.00
ROOF COVERINGS £717.07
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £866.22
SHOPFITTING £1,073.29
SPECIALIST TRADES £920.80
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £660.47
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £676.86
REGIONAL AVERAGE £877.44

 

SOUTH-WEST May 2016
BRICKLAYING £714.35
CIVIL ENGINEERING £651.43
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £1,263.84
ELECTRICAL £653.04
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £615.49
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £798.85
INSULATION £603.38
JOINERY £1,115.67
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £791.69
PLASTERING £733.45
PLUMBING £774.00
ROOF COVERINGS £648.86
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £630.17
SHOPFITTING £1,440.34
SPECIALIST TRADES £768.78
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £638.61
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £670.26
REGIONAL AVERAGE £794.84

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 during May 2016.

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