The average rate of pay for freelancers in the construction industry continues to rise, new figures reveal.
This week, Show House shared the latest construction pay figures from Hudson Contract. The payroll survey by the UK’s largest Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) contract, audit and payroll provider, analyses some 2,200 firms in the industry, and saw some regional variation in monthly rises, with the South West and South East having the largest increases (3.0% and 2.8% respectively), while two regions saw a downturn, with the East Midlands and London falling 0.1% and 1.1% respectively.
Year-on-year, every region saw a significant rise, showing a national average of 8.1% to an average weekly wage of £899. Regionally, this is led by the North East, where a 2.0% month-on-month and 10.6% annual rise equates to £780 per week, followed by Yorkshire and The Humber (9.6% to £842).
The East Midlands performed worst over 12 months, but was still a healthy 6.0% up on March 2018 and still at the top regional average wage of all, now £965 a week. We’ve recently written about Birmingham’s ongoing property boom, so with the highest wages for freelance construction workers and ongoing growth for the sector, it’s certainly not all bad news for the Midlands overall!
Trades themselves also saw a variation of pay changes and average wages. The biggest winners are mechanical and engineering, up 7.4% to £1,137; shop fitters, increasing by 4.8% to £1,227; and bricklayers, rising 4.8% to £781. Some have seen average pay fall, the worst of them plastering down 2.5% to £783, and insulation and steel and timber frame erection, both sinking by 2.7% (to £921 and £774 respectively).
Although the upward trend in wages for freelance construction workers and many tradespeople is encouraging, Advantage has previously written that women are seriously underrepresented in these sectors. We noted that: “Women make up only 11% of the construction workforce, and just 2% of tradespeople. What’s more, these figures have remained the same since 1997, suggesting that there hasn’t been any change over the past couple of decades which may encourage women to consider a career in the industry.”
Ian Anfield, managing director at Hudson Contract, said:
“Our figures show demand stayed strong for skilled tradespeople across the regions in England and Wales last month. However, the fall in average freelance weekly earnings for tradespeople in London could have been caused by a combination of political uncertainty and a slowing housing market in the capital. This view might be supported by the decrease in weekly pay of 1.5% for plumbing and electrical contractors in London.”
“Whatever happens with Brexit and the wider economy, the construction industry will continue to rely on self-employed tradespeople and their ability to supply specialist labour. Their steady rise in earnings over the last year highlights the general shortage of skills in the sector and good financial incentives for young people to learn the trades.”
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