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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: October 2014

News and Views | 14th October 2014

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 the full spectrum of 17 different trades across five regions.

For the third month in a row average weekly earnings right cross the country are continuing to increase. But the good news is slightly tempered by reports of rising costs, a shortage of skilled workers and some materials, and signs that the house building boom is starting to slow down.

“The latest confidence index from Markit/CIPS rose to 64.2 in September, showing the strongest growth since the six-year high of 64.6, which occurred in January," says Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield. “According to new – and surprising – data from the Office for National Statistics, however, British construction output actually declined in August, marking a year-on-year decline of 0.3% when economists had been predicting a 2.9% gain.

“That’s taken everyone by surprise. But Hudson Contract’s own statistics are clear and unambiguous: so far as freelance builders are concerned, earnings continue to rise, which is always a healthy sign for the state of the industry as a whole.

“While this month’s increases in our five regions are not accelerating as fast in the previous two months they are still heading in the right direction and again this month the South-West is performing well and bridging the gap that is traditionally seen in this part of the country.”

Broadly speaking, the country has now split into two ‘earnings bands’:

  • The North-East, North-West and South-West: £640 - £660 a week
  • Midlands and South-East: £690 – £730 a week.

As always, shopfitters continue to earn well, with rates up to £940 in the South-East – the highest of any trade anywhere. By contrast, the only region where earnings have failed to keep up with the current Retail Price Index 2.4% is the North-West, so it’s no surprise that, like last month, all three of this month's losers come from that region.

This month’s winners:

  • Joiners in the North-West: +18%
  • Shopfitters in the Midlands: +18 %
  • Scaffolders in the South-West: +15%

And the losers – all in the North-West:

  • Plasterers (for the third month running) -13 %
  • Scaffolders - 11.7%
  • Shopfitters -11.6%

The year so far
With three-quarters of the year already gone and autumn in full swing, how have trades fared since the beginning of January?

Ian Anfield says, “On the whole, it’s a positive picture, with fourteen of the seventeen trades monitored by Hudson Contract up during the year.

“As you would expect given the growth in house building and the numerous reports about the skills shortage, bricklaying – the barometer of our industry – is showing the largest increase with 18.50% since January, which works out at an extra £90 a week. Shopfitting and joinery have also seen significant increases of around 13%.

“At the other end of the scale, the three trades that have prospered least during the year to date are plumbing – down 2% – along with very small decreases for those in insulation, and steel & timber frame erection, and with construction as a whole in definite recovery, it is disappointing that some trades have yet to reap the benefits.”

NORTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £627.51 £588.07 6.71%
Civil Engineering £652.38 £630.31 3.50%
Demolition £459.24 £443.23 3.61%
Electrical £740.43 £693.59 6.75%
Equipment & Operator hire £654.50 £725.72 -9.81%
Fit out by specialist trades £795.44 £704.32 12.94%
General Construction £667.31 £638.13 4.57%
Insulation £601.95 £642.95 -6.38%
Joinery £787.24 £781.15 0.78%
Mechanical £697.85 £687.21 1.55%
Plastering £728.24 £689.85 5.56%
Plumbing £627.00 £596.23 5.16%
Roofing £633.38 £599.58 5.64%
Scaffolding £549.28 £483.94 13.50%
Shopfitting £674.42 £634.95 6.22%
Steel & Timber frame erect £663.78 £692.55 -4.15%
Surfacing contractors £561.18 £566.36 -0.91%
Average £654.18 £635.18 2.99%

NORTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £586.87 £588.92 -0.35%
Civil Engineering £592.07 £553.56 6.96%
Demolition £711.73 £687.00 3.60%
Electrical £807.43 £725.46 11.30%
Equipment & Operator hire £662.95 £655.95 1.07%
Fit out by specialist trades £659.07 £630.93 4.46%
General Construction £675.24 £617.79 9.30%
Insulation £715.49 £726.31 -1.49%
Joinery £692.14 £584.51 18.41%
Mechanical £535.47 £476.72 12.32%
Plastering £479.08 £552.39 -13.27%
Plumbing £505.53 £561.42 -9.96%
Roofing £801.52 £780.18 2.74%
Scaffolding £423.84 £480.08 -11.71%
Shopfitting £861.32 £974.20 -11.59%
Steel & Timber frame erect £630.00 £635.26 -0.83%
Surfacing contractors £581.36 £530.95 9.49%
Average £642.42 £633.04 1.48%

MIDLANDS

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £595.16 £539.13 10.39%
Civil Engineering £726.51 £691.60 5.05%
Demolition £769.55 £703.44 9.40%
Electrical £709.13 £656.90 7.95%
Equipment & Operator hire £636.02 £597.09 6.52%
Fit out by specialist trades £747.51 £711.60 5.05%
General Construction £699.23 £656.51 6.51%
Insulation £637.58 £628.44 1.45%
Joinery £694.26 £689.04 0.76%
Mechanical £731.79 £811.15 -9.78%
Plastering £602.75 £591.94 1.83%
Plumbing £765.74 £781.57 -2.03%
Roofing £637.39 £692.19 -7.92%
Scaffolding £633.77 £576.21 9.99%
Shopfitting £820.16 £694.34 18.12%
Steel & Timber frame erect £600.26 £667.75 -10.11%
Surfacing contractors £735.95 £740.49 -0.61%
Average £690.75 £672.32 2.74%

SOUTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £656.43 £594.05 10.50%
Civil Engineering £718.13 £684.89 4.85%
Demolition £568.61 £587.79 -3.26%
Electrical £865.15 £820.43 5.45%
Equipment & Operator hire £810.30 £796.97 1.67%
Fit out by specialist trades £724.62 £688.83 5.20%
General Construction £669.17 £633.86 5.57%
Insulation £789.66 £764.03 3.35%
Joinery £864.87 £814.33 6.21%
Mechanical £718.61 £756.55 -5.01%
Plastering £626.74 £581.95 7.70%
Plumbing £858.03 £850.14 0.93%
Roofing £628.73 £650.00 -3.27%
Scaffolding £699.75 £646.64 8.21%
Shopfitting £940.51 £949.70 -0.97%
Steel & Timber frame erect £569.82 £587.23 -2.96%
Surfacing contractors £685.33 £666.78 2.78%
Average £729.09 £710.25 2.65%

SOUTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £515.92 £534.33 -3.45%
Civil Engineering £694.29 £667.68 3.99%
Demolition £621.43 £636.80 -2.41%
Electrical £632.32 £644.67 -1.92%
Equipment & Operator hire £575.50 £529.16 8.76%
Fit out by specialist trades £849.31 £813.36 4.42%
General Construction £668.23 £652.43 2.42%
Insulation £618.21 £648.65 -4.69%
Joinery £590.85 £552.75 6.89%
Mechanical £659.81 £693.09 -4.80%
Plastering £716.52 £629.09 13.90%
Plumbing £588.30 £596.99 -1.46%
Roofing £659.70 £578.63 14.01%
Scaffolding £599.14 £521.95 14.79%
Shopfitting £891.35 £842.47 5.80%
Steel & Timber frame erect £774.89 £699.66 10.75%
Surfacing contractors £549.34 £533.37 2.99%
Average £659.12 £633.83 3.99%

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 over the twelve weeks to 30th September 2014.

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