Brickwork and blockwork walls being built with three bricklayers in the background

As the soaring demand for qualified tradespeople across the UK continues, those currently working in, or entering the industry for the first time, largely do so in an incredibly strong position when it comes to potential earnings. 

As is the case with just about any industry, huge demand generally translates to an increase in average wages—a trend which we are certainly seeing for those working within construction. 

In fact, recent data from employment services provider Hudson Contract (via Construction Enquirer) has revealed that self-employed construction workers in London, the South East and the East Midlands were averaging four-figure salaries throughout March thanks to the increased demand. 

In London, the average self-employed weekly salary hit £1027, while workers operating in the South East reached £1,005. Outside of the south, the East Midlands average was as high as £1,070, with Yorkshire and Humber just shy of the £1k mark at £936, though that figure did also mark a sizeable 9% year-on-year increase. 

The only region where wages saw a notable drop was in Wales, where month-on-month earnings were down 5.1% in March, though it’s worth noting they were still up 7.2% year-on-year.

Those figures hold extra significance given that March is generally a slow time for building work due to the bad weather, a point Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, discussed after the latest data was revealed.

“For pay to reach these levels at this time of year when building sites are usually dogged by bad weather suggests this is going to be a strong year for workload and earnings.

While there are still huge issues around inflation, fuel and materials which can only be made worse by the war in Ukraine, the construction industry is still running at full capacity.

“People have built up cash reserves for deposits on new homes and renovation projects, developers are creating new models for shared ownership schemes and the housing sector has not yet replenished the supply that was lost after the financial crisis in 2007.

“There is still huge pent-up demand for housing in the UK and there is still a shortage of skilled workers. Our clients are flat-out with full order books though as we saw in February, there are not quite as many tenders coming through the door.” 

However, the current rate of growth in construction has been hedged with a warning by the Construction Products Association (CPA).

While the organisation predicts the current strong pipeline of work will see growth of 2.8% for 2022 (via Construction News), surging energy prices and supply shortages due to the war in Ukraine will continue to cause uncertainty. 

Despite that, the CPA did highlight specific construction sectors that are set for particularly strong periods, likely driving up average wages. According to its predictions, those on the industrial side of construction could see their output grow by 9.8% this year, followed by 9.3% in 2023. 

Those within infrastructure are set for a strong period too. Fueled by projects like HS2 and Hinkley Point C, the sector is expected to grow by 8.8% this year and 4.6% in 2023.