Freelance Builder Pay Trends: September 2020

Demand for labour grows by 17 per cent in September

The construction industry has continued to recover from the COVID-19 crisis with demand for labour increasing by 17 per cent during September, according to our latest analysis of pay trends.

Hudson Contract made 137,700 payments to tradespeople during September, up from 117,591 in August. This compares to a pre-lockdown peak of 149,067 payments in February and a trough of 80,625 in April.

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “Demand for the most highly skilled tradespeople is as strong as it was before COVID-19.

“Our network of regional managers across England and Wales tells us that eight out of 10 subcontractors are now back on site, helping housebuilders to finish schemes while finance is still available in the housing market.

“With rising unemployment in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, we are expecting a bumpy period ahead for housebuilding.

“Government and major housebuilders will need to work together to maintain demand in the market by extending the stamp duty holiday and expanding shared ownership initiatives.

“While demand for highly skilled tradespeople has recovered most of its pre-pandemic capacity, the industry must help newly qualified workers to gain the experience they need to find work and develop successful and rewarding careers.”

Overall, average weekly earnings for subcontractors edged down by 0.3 per cent to £874 during September. The best-performing regions month on month were the South East (+2.3 per cent), the East of England (+1.6 per cent) and the South West (1.3 per cent).

Region September 2020 Average Month on Month % Change Year on Year % Change
North East £746 -2.5% -3.5% 
North West £872 0.1% 3.9% 
Yorkshire & Humber £818 0.7% -0.8% 
East Midlands £852 0.1% -6.2% 
West Midlands £906 0.1% -4.6% 
Wales £883 0.0% 10.9% 
East of England £949 1.6% 3.6% 
London £852 -5.5% -3.8% 
South East £944 2.3% 5.2% 
South West £836 1.3% 4.6% 

To view our interactive pay trends map click here

Hudson delivers the most accurate indication of subcontractor pay trends across the construction industry, publishing the average pay for a spectrum of 17 different trades split across 10 regions in England and Wales. We are supplying statistics to the Bank of England to keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour.

Winners:

Mechanical and engineering +7.2 per cent
Bricklaying +5.2 per cent
Joinery +4.6 per cent

Losers:

Electrical -6.2 per cent
Roofing -5.9 per cent
Specialist trades -4.1 per cent

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 2020.

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