Construction News

Fri June 18 2021

Related Information

Bricklayers earn more than architects

24 May 16 Shortages of skilled labour in the construction industry means that many bricklayers are now earning more than architects and taking home up to £1,000 a week.

And their pay is expected to rise further should the people of the UK vote to leave the European Union next month.

Latest data from the Royal Institution of British Architects shows that the average salary for its members is less than £34,000 a year and for senior architects it is £40,959.

Hourly rates for staff placed by RIBA’s recruitment agency range from £18-£20 for newly registered architects to £20-£25 for more experienced ones.

A survey of construction recruitment firms by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) today reveals that 19% currently pay bricklayers between £20 and £25 an hour. The figure rises to 36% in London. A further 46% (64% in London) pay bricklayers between £15 and £20 an hour.

More than six in ten recruitment agencies said that demand for temporary construction workers has increased over the last year. 43% of recruitment firms said that finding bricklayers was particularly difficult.

Construction recruitment firms predict that a vote to leave the EU would exacerbate the shortage of candidates. In the survey, 59% said that a Brexit would make it more difficult to find suitable workers to fill vacancies, while only 5% said the situation would be improved as a result.

These findings follow the latest employment data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which shows a year-on-year increase in wages in the construction sector of 7.5% excluding bonuses. ONS data also reveals that in December 2015 there were 2,238,000 jobs in construction, making up 6.6 per cent of all jobs. The construction sector was the second biggest job creator last year, accounting for 25% of job growth in 2015.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “If you work in construction you can expect to be earning £34 a week more than last year, and our data indicates that some employers are increasing pay faster as the competition for skilled workers intensifies.

“Whilst this is great news for builders and tradesmen, there are hard questions that need to be asked about the sustainability of this trend. The UK is close to full employment and building firms are already struggling to find the people needed for major infrastructure projects. If Britain leaves the EU there’s no doubt that recruitment for some construction roles will become even more of a challenge. 

“Whatever the outcome of the EU referendum we need to address deep-seated skills shortages. That means more apprenticeships, greater investment in skills development by employers, better careers guidance in schools, and more work experience opportunities so that young people are shown the potential benefits of a career in construction.” 

The REC survey

In April 2016 the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) surveyed member agencies that supply staff to the construction sector. 32% of respondents place 100-300 temp staff every week and 14% of respondents place 300+ temp staff every week.

Related Information

In London specifically, 38% of recruitment firms place 100-300 temp staff every week, and 6% place 300+ temp staff every week.

Thinking about the last 12 months, demand for temporary construction workers has: (Select one)

Total businesses: 43

  1. Increased significantly                        23%
  2. Increased a little                                  40%
  3. Stayed the same                                 16%
  4. Decreased a little                                19%
  5. Decreased significantly                      2%

Which vacancies do you currently struggle to fill due to a shortage of suitable candidates? (Multiple choice)

Total businesses: 44

  1. Surveyor                                           55%
  2. Other trades                                      50%
  3. Bricklayer                                          43%
  4. Project manager                                34%
  5. Labour/General operative                    20%
  6. Architect                                          14%

What is the average hourly pay rate that is currently paid for bricklayers?

Total businesses: 37

  1. Under £10 p/h                                     3%
  2. £10-15 p/h                                          32%
  3. £15-20 p/h                                          46%
  4. £20-25 p/h                                          19%
  5. More than £25 p/h                               0%

What is the average hourly pay rate that is currently paid for bricklayers in London?

Total businesses: 14

  1. Under £10 p/h                                     0%
  2. £10-15 p/h                                           0%
  3. £15-20 p/h                                           64%
  4. £20-25 p/h                                           36%
  5. More than £25 p/h                                0%

If Britain leaves the EU, freedom of movement is likely to be impacted. How do you think this would affect your ability to find suitable candidates to fill vacancies in construction?

Total businesses: 44

  1. It would become more difficult to find suitable candidates   59%
  2. Britain leaving the EU would not impact my ability to find suitable candidates  29%
  3. It would become easier to find suitable candidates             5%
  4. None of the above                                                           7%

Got a story? Email


Click here to view more construction news »