Freelance construction workers earnings up 8.1%


Weekly earnings for freelance tradespeople in the construction sector continued to grow last month, according to latest figures released by Hudson Contract

Analysis of March payroll data for more than 2,200 construction companies in England and Wales reveals a 1% increase in average pay to £899 per week.

However, tradespeople in London saw a decrease, slipping 1.1% to £903 in March compared to February. The East Midlands was the only other region to record a month-on-month fall in earnings, edging down 0.1% to £912.

The rest of the regions saw strong month-on-month growth in weekly earnings, led by the South West (3.0%), the South East (2.8%) and the North West (2.2%).

Year on year, average weekly pay saw a healthy increase of 8.1% to £899 compared to March 2018, although the previous period was affected by adverse weather conditions. Yorkshire and the Humber has seen the strongest increase over the 12 months, with a 9.9% rise in average earnings to £842 in March 2019.

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.”

Anfield added: “The fall in commercial work is due to Brexit uncertainty which is causing businesses to hold back on new investment.

“The weak pound, a sign of this uncertainty, is increasing the cost of importing steel, concrete, plaster and plastic building products, which is leading to input inflation.

“The fall in civil engineering activity is likely caused by a number of large government-led infrastructure projects such as Crossrail winding down, whilst new projects like HS2 are still in their early stages.

“The rise in residential building is a reflection of pent-up demand for new housing in the UK.”

Region March 2019


Month on Month

% Change

Year on Year

% Change

North East £780 2.0% 10.6%
North West £801 2.2% 8.8%
Yorkshire and the Humber £842 0.1% 9.9%
East Midlands £912 -0.1% 6.0%
West Midlands £954 0.7% 7.1%
Wales £823 0.9% 7.6%
East of England £965 2.1% 7.9%
London £903 -1.1% 8.3%
South East £903 2.8% 9.6%
South West £811 3.0% 8.7%

Trades: biggest winners

  • Mechanical & Engineering +7.4% to £1,137
  • Shopfitters +4.8% to £1,227
  • Bricklayers +4.8% to £781

Trades: biggest losers

  • Insulation -2.7% to £921
  • Steel & Timber Frame Erection -2.7% to £774
  • Plastering -2.5% to £783


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