Freelance Builder Pay Trends: May 2018

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.

Earnings this month have bounced back – and wow!  For the first time in fifteen months, freelance builders across the country have, without exception, seen rises.  Nationally, the increase works out at almost four percent, which adds up to around £33 a week.

“Having endured a snowy, windy winter, an upswing was always on the cards,” says Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield.  “And May’s good weather has certainly had an impact.  It seems, at least in part, that freelancers have been busy making up for lost time.”

Those in the North-East and North-West are leading the way, with increases of 7.43% and 5.47% respectively.  Even at the other end of the trend, labour-only subbies in the West Midlands earned an average of £896 last month, up 2.68% from April.

National Weekly Average Earnings May 2018: £846
Region May 2018 Average Change from April 2018
North East £767.00 +7.43%
North West £750.00 +5.47%
Yorkshire & Humber £808.00 +3.71%
East Midlands £858.00 +4.08%
West Midlands £896.00 +2.68%
Wales £768.00 +4.82%
East of England £909.00 +5.28%
London £844.00 +3.20%
South East £845.00 +4.62%
South West £782.00 +4.35%

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

This month's winning trades

  • Steel & Timber Frame Erectors: +8.08%
    East Midlands specialists revert to £1,000+ weekly earnings
  • Joinery: +5.46%
    East of England shaping up nicely
  • Demolition & Wrecking: +5.38%
    Smashing it in the North-West

And the losers:

Insulation has seen a downward turn for the third successive month and is the sole trade to continue an earnings decline.  However, at £4 a week – less than half a percent – the decrease is marginal.

Turning to the national perspective, the latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK construction PMI reports a steady continuation of growth in May, with house building remaining the strongest sector and both commercial and civil engineering reporting growth.  Nevertheless, the general feeling is one of caution.

Ian Anfield observes:  “Based on my most recent conversations with clients, the shortage of highly skilled labour means everyone is fighting to engage the best, and as such, prices are going up.  While in the Midlands, I’m told work has slowed – but that was from manic to busy, rather than from busy to slow. 

“The general feeling is that our clients’ business strategy is to aim for sustainable slow and steady growth, rather than taking risks in a bid to accelerate turnover and profitability.  In the wake of the Carillion debacle, firms are being especially selective in choosing who they work for and the projects they bid for.

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 2018.

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