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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: September 2014

News and Views | 1st September 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.

It’s been another month of higher earnings for freelance builders everywhere. Last month, average earnings across the board were at least £630 – but with increases the order of the day, the picture is changing fast:

Average weekly earnings across the regions:

  • North-East and South-West: £650
  • North-West: £640
  • Midlands & South-East: £700

Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield comments: “It shows that good weather is great news for everyone involved in construction. And particularly so in the South-West, where the month-on-month earnings increase has leapt by almost seven-and-a-half per cent – which works out at over £40 a week.

“It means those in the South-West are no longer construction’s ‘poor relations’ – three months ago they were the lowest earning of our five regions, and now they are in the middle.”

Dramatic increases

Five of the seventeen trades monitored by Hudson Contract have seen increases in all regions this month:

  • Bricklayers +13%
  • Equipment & Operator Hire +9%
  • Specialist Trades +9%
  • Mechanical +6.5%
  • Joiners +4.5%.

Meanwhile, last month’s highest earners – shopfitters – continue to do well, with weekly earnings topping £900 in the South-East and £960 in the North-West.

This month’s winners:

  • Scaffolders in the Midlands +18 %
  • Roofers in the North-East +18%
  • Bricklayers in the Midlands +17%

And the losers – all in the North-West:

  • Plasterers (for the second month running) -17 %
  • Steel & Timber Frame Erectors -16%
  • Plumbers -9%

Nationally, the Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index reflects Hudson Contracts data, reporting strong growth across all sectors in August. Job creation in the construction sector has now grown for fifteen months in succession – the longest unbroken rally since before the recession began.

Skills shortage: impact beginning to bite

Ian Anfield adds: “Employment numbers nevertheless remain down by 200,000 compared to before the recession. It means the industry is now facing up to a serious skills shortage, because so many moved out of construction during the recession and have not as yet not come back into the industry.

“One result is that subcontractor charges are rising sharply, whilst simultaneously, availability is falling – and that’s a combination that could well see freelance builders’ earnings continue to rise.

“The long term view is definitely positive with over half of those in construction anticipating increased business activity to in the year ahead and only seven percent forecasting a decline.”

NORTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £602.98 £531.24 13.50%
Civil Engineering £646.63 £605.27 6.83%
Demolition £409.83 £412.04 -0.54%
Electrical £748.25 £707.30 5.79%
Equipment & Operator hire £749.61 £666.62 12.45%
Fit out by specialist trades £730.62 £699.07 4.51%
General Construction £701.20 £609.19 15.10%
Insulation £615.26 £654.25 -5.96%
Joinery £694.46 £689.92 0.66%
Mechanical £705.17 £614.01 14.85%
Plastering £676.75 £738.64 -8.38%
Plumbing £645.45 £586.10 10.13%
Roofing £669.00 £566.77 18.04%
Scaffolding £556.25 £523.42 6.27%
Shopfitting £606.48 £603.96 0.42%
Steel & Timber frame erect £735.21 £641.80 14.55%
Surfacing contractors £554.50 £582.59 -4.82%
Average £649.86 £613.66 5.90%

NORTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £601.31 £550.28 9.27%
Civil Engineering £576.79 £594.13 -2.92%
Demolition £718.27 £655.56 9.57%
Electrical £787.02 £721.27 9.12%
Equipment & Operator hire £691.92 £647.80 6.81%
Fit out by specialist trades £668.61 £603.08 10.87%
General Construction £699.71 £611.46 14.43%
Insulation £721.06 £687.17 4.93%
Joinery £674.64 £613.31 10.00%
Mechanical £494.88 £431.02 14.82%
Plastering £448.41 £542.06 -17.28%
Plumbing £530.26 £583.65 -9.15%
Roofing £763.85 £783.84 -2.55%
Scaffolding £432.11 £454.98 -5.03%
Shopfitting £899.82 £817.65 10.05%
Steel & Timber frame erect £658.89 £781.54 -15.69%
Surfacing contractors £532.57 £536.97 -0.82%
Average £641.18 £624.46 2.68%

MIDLANDS

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £594.47 £507.38 17.16%
Civil Engineering £721.46 £673.23 7.16%
Demolition £757.61 £671.95 12.75%
Electrical £685.63 £649.85 5.51%
Equipment & Operator hire £678.13 £628.48 7.90%
Fit out by specialist trades £783.95 £714.51 9.72%
General Construction £678.68 £642.36 5.65%
Insulation £660.41 £612.74 7.78%
Joinery £674.95 £674.12 0.12%
Mechanical £816.25 £814.14 0.26%
Plastering £644.55 £594.30 8.46%
Plumbing £698.41 £687.24 1.63%
Roofing £568.93 £581.40 -2.14%
Scaffolding £649.56 £548.88 18.34%
Shopfitting £844.33 £727.07 16.13%
Steel & Timber frame erect £724.65 £689.89 5.04%
Surfacing contractors £730.31 £747.86 -2.35%
Average £700.72 £656.79 6.69%

SOUTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £643.40 £580.04 10.92%
Civil Engineering £696.83 £659.41 5.67%
Demolition £625.37 £613.72 1.90%
Electrical £826.61 £832.09 -0.66%
Equipment & Operator hire £831.61 £758.75 9.60%
Fit out by specialist trades £715.11 £675.43 5.87%
General Construction £659.17 £617.33 6.78%
Insulation £713.95 £709.13 0.68%
Joinery £805.44 £798.34 0.89%
Mechanical £698.88 £690.74 1.18%
Plastering £613.20 £574.39 6.76%
Plumbing £784.15 £759.90 3.19%
Roofing £621.81 £611.80 1.64%
Scaffolding £675.95 £626.03 7.97%
Shopfitting £725.08 £743.23 -2.44%
Steel & Timber frame erect £614.83 £557.74 10.24%
Surfacing contractors £632.54 £637.96 -0.85%
Average £699.05 £673.30 3.83%

SOUTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £593.51 £526.25 12.78%
Civil Engineering £599.78 £555.45 7.98%
Demolition £630.31 £578.59 8.94%
Electrical £616.31 £610.64 0.93%
Equipment & Operator hire £560.77 £508.61 10.26%
Fit out by specialist trades £812.99 £707.91 14.84%
General Construction £643.95 £696.87 -7.59%
Insulation £628.65 £649.95 -3.28%
Joinery £583.19 £526.88 10.69%
Mechanical £632.47 £622.50 1.60%
Plastering £724.93 £624.08 16.16%
Plumbing £663.64 £579.39 14.54%
Roofing £614.64 £542.47 13.30%
Scaffolding £545.50 £504.65 8.09%
Shopfitting £875.66 £845.67 3.55%
Steel & Timber frame erect £797.63 £694.56 14.84%
Surfacing contractors £550.10 £535.00 2.82%
Average £651.41 £606.44 7.42%

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 31st August 2014.

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