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Sat December 09 2023

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Skilled labour rates rise a fifth in a year

12 May 21 It is not just materials that are going up in price – labour is too.

Average costs for engaging tradespeople have risen by nearly 20% since the first lockdown a year ago, according to Hudson Contract.

Hudson Contract is a payroll firm that manages the wages of more than 30,000 construction workers and supplies more than 2,500 construction companies. Its pay data covers a spectrum of 17 different trades split across 10 regions in England and Wales.

The company is warning that supply chain pressures are tightening as the bounce-back economy fuels demand for skilled labour and building materials.

Its latest analysis of payroll data shows average weekly earnings of £878 during April, an increase of 19.6% compared to April 2020. The picture varies regionally, from a 29% increase in the southwest to less than 5% in London. (See table below.)

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “The housing market is in a state of frenzy with mortgage lending rising to record levels, homeowners are spending cash piles built up during lockdowns on renovation and remodelling work and the government is proceeding with mega-projects and shovel-ready schemes to ‘build back better’.

“The UK economy is roaring so the challenge now is for the construction industry to keep pace whilst dealing with spikes in demand for skilled labour and materials.

“Clients are now telling us the materials crisis is outstripping the skills shortage as the main threat to their growth prospects and the main cause of inflation in construction costs.”

Region April 2021 average Month-on-month % change Year-on-year % change
North East £734 -6.90% 27.00%
North West £862 -4.30% 22.40%
Yorkshire and the Humber £817 -4.90% 26.90%
East Midlands £938 -3.10% 16.10%
West Midlands £889 -4.10% 19.50%
Wales £863 3.60% 22.40%
East of England £952 -6.30% 17.20%
London £847 -6.70% 4.70%
South East £917 -5.50% 18.60%

Month-on-month earnings slipped by 4.6% because of the Easter bank holidays giving a distorted picture.

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