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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: May 2017

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.

As anticipated, earnings have bounced back from last month’s dramatic fall . . . although only up to a point.

On the one hand, freelance builders in every region other than Wales were better off during May, with an average increase of 2.2%.  But weekly earnings of £819 on average, represents a noticeable drop from the February and March highs of £842.

Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield believes the reversal is only temporary.  “Are earnings going backwards?,” he asks.  “I think not. You have to take into account the two bank holidays in May, which made for a shorter working month than in February and March.  Had this not been the case, then earnings would likely have reached a peak for 2017.”

National Weekly Average Earnings May 2017: £819

Region May 2017 Average Change from April 2017
North East £696.00 0.86%
North West £730.00 3.42%
Yorkshire & Humber £754.00 2.92%
East Midlands £828.00 2.66%
West Midlands £838.00 0.24%
Wales £691.00 -2.46%
East of England £898.00 2.23%
London £834.00 3.24%
South East £841.00 1.90%
South West £756.00 1.32%

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

Individual Trades: Winners and Losers:

Nationally this month’s winners are:

  • Steel & Timber Frame Erection:  +11.6%
    Demand growing in the East Midlands
  • Joinery+7.4%
    Strong gains in Wales and London
  • Scaffolding & Lifting+6.1%
    Going up particularly in the North-West

At the other end of the scale only two trades report overall reductions:

  • Insulation:  -2.8%
    Slowdown in the East and South-West
  • Bricklaying-0.2%
    Plenty of work in West Midlands, which defied the trend

Looking at the national picture, the latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index reports that May saw the strongest sign of expansion in the industry for 17 months.   All three sectors – civils, commercial and housing – showed solid rises, with housebuilding growing at its fastest since December 2015.

Ian Anfield adds:  “Of course, all these statistics are pre-election, and we are now waiting to see what impact the hung parliament will have on the industry and Brexit.

“Uncertainty is never good for construction, and it has yet to emerge whether the outcome will have an impact on pipeline infrastructure projects.  Nevertheless, today’s construction industry is both flexible and resilient.  Client confidence remains high.”

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 2017.

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