Economic uncertainty has seen average construction salaries fall by 2% on the year, as research reveals North East construction workers have the most disposable income
Construction professionals across a range of on-site and office-based roles secured average salaries of £44,115 in 2020, compared to £44,999 in 2019.
The regional disparities between construction salaries and household expenses are creating a cost-of-living gap amongst construction professionals, according to specialist recruiter Randstad Construction, Property & Engineering.
According to research into 7,500 permanent placed construction jobs and current vacancies, candidates seeking construction roles can have up to 50% of their salary remaining after household and essential expenses by securing a job in the North East of England, where average salaries sit just above the national average at £45,875.
Randstad’s data shows that while London continues to provide workers with the highest average construction salaries in the industry at an average £50,630, monthly expenses of £2,861 continue to outstrip the rest of the country, meaning workers are left with just 10% of their salary at the end of the month.
Construction professionals across a range of roles in the North East are also likely to be in a better financial position than those in the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber, where income left after household expenditure and housing costs is 32% and 25% respectively.
‘Salaries should be considered alongside the cost of living’
Owen Goodhead, chief operating officer of Randstad, said: “Construction salaries experienced a small decrease in 2020, likely linked to uncertainty around projects due to Covid-19 and Brexit.
“However, the commitment to keeping the construction industry open, demonstrates the importance of the sector to the local and national economy and as a result the ongoing demand we will see for skilled professionals.
“In addition to analysing 7,500 placed construction jobs, we also spoke to over 2,000 construction professionals currently seeking job roles, and found that salary continues to be the biggest driver to decision-making.
“Over half of candidates are willing to relocate for the right job, rising to 76% if a company contributes to relocation costs, so there is a clear opportunity for hiring managers seeking to attract the best talent in the sector.
“Salaries should be considered alongside the cost of living, house prices and rental prices though, as these all contribute to the amount of disposable income in workers’ pockets – and these have been rising.
“Lifestyle priorities shifted in 2020 as a result of Covid-19, with many reassessing where they want to live, the home they live in and the importance of a sense of community. January is typically the time of year when people reconsider their jobs.
“Employers seeking skilled construction professionals should consider the wider lifestyle benefits and possibility of tempting new skilled recruits through additional incentives such as relocation packages.”
Following their analysis, Randstad has made a series of recommendations for construction, engineering and property businesses and professionals.
These recommendations are as follows:
Capitalise on changing lifestyle priorities to secure the best talent
A dynamic and mobile workforce who are taking stock of their lives means the chance to recruit new talent who are open to change. People are willing to relocate and are still drawn to jobs for salaries, so consider the added benefit of regional cost of living and spread your recruitment across a wider area to attract the best talent.
Encourage settled status security
EU nationals can continue to apply for settled status even though the UK has formally left the EU. Businesses should be in regular contact with EU-born employees to ensure that those who have yet to act are provided with the knowledge and necessary skills to apply for settled status ahead of June 2021.
Candidates should understand skilled labour gaps
IR35 and Brexit has put pressure on skilled labour, but project delivery is not slowing down and is key to the economy. Understand the construction landscape and take stock of your qualifications, if it is possible to upskill to increase expertise in a specialism seeking skilled labour investing now will be beneficial long-term.