Are you happy with your pay in the UK construction industry?

According to a recent report, whether you are currently taking home a quantity surveyor salary or a carpenter salary, a slow growth in wages and a recently heightened rate of inflation means you are likely to be around £4000 worse off than if growth had continued at the rate prior to the 2007 recession.  

Whilst not a construction industry  trend, the report continues, stating this is a fact effecting every single person working in the UK.

A bleak picture of the economy is being painted, headlined as the decade without growth. Historically any deficits in wage growth have been addressed as the country has proudly got back on top, but economists warn this gap is  in danger of never being closed. So inflation continues to raise but the wages don’t, leaving everybody financially worse off.



Yet the recent Hays Salary Survey contests these claims and states that salaries across building services saw a healthy 3.5 % rise during 2016. A significant amount when compared to the 1.8% increase attributed to other professionals.

Yet whilst apparently there are pots of gold for construction workers to stash, there is still a trend for employees including quality surveyors and site managers to  move from company to company. Hays may be keen to blame this practice on the phenomenon that all construction workers have itchy feet, but could there be more to it?

We frequently hear about skill gaps within the construction industry, whether that be for carpenters or electricians. Of course many of the old dogs have these tricks, but they don't become recognised financially if they over stay there welcome at a single company.  So the competitive nature of the industry lures those skills away with the promise of financial rewards.



Hays claims to have been talking to people on the ground and apparently the word on the street is that whether you happen to be on a site manager salary or an electrician salary, you will have benefitted from a significant increase this year and allegedly there is more of where that came from.

Cat, pigeons…ready, set go….

Eyebrows raised and a tad irresponsibly we decide to let the cat see the pigeons and bring up Balfour Beatty ! Company share holders at Balfour Beatty and  construction workers did not buy into the goose and gander concept when it came to Chief Executive Leo Quinn, increasing his annual bonus to 150% of his salary. Increasing his take home pay to just £3.76 million...

Just like in Mexico with the new Great Wall, an opinion on construction pay rates really depends on which side of the fence you are sitting on, or in their case, which side of the wall....

Whilst those higher up the construction chain, including the quantity surveyor salary and site manager salary may be reaping some rewards, the benefits may not be felt by the electrician or carpenter. Furthermore, the north south divide continues to effect wages.

Location, location, location

The north-south divide is no new thing and to suggest that wages will ever be standardised  across the company is ludicrous. On average, a quantity surveyor salary in London is expected to be approximately £35,837, compared to a figure of £30,837 in Manchester and £28,667 in Glasgow.

This poses a chicken and egg type question, there may be higher wages to be earned in London but is it worth the trade off?

The average wage in London stands at £40,752 compared to just £23,405 in Yorkshire, but of course life is grim up north…isn’t it? Perhaps not if you consider that a first time buyer can get themselves on the property ladder for just £30,000 compared to a staggering £374,950 for a similar property in London! And of course let’s not get started on the cost of a pint north and south of the border.

Mind The Gap

In this section we considered opening up a whole new can of worms, by discussing the gender pay gap, but that is a whole other topic. So we decided to question how Brexit may leave gaps in the construction work force and how that may effect carpenters, electricians and so on.

With Brexit negotiations underway, concerns are being raised about the restrictions which may be placed on European workers who currently account for 12% of the industries workforce.

This could widen the skills gap which is already evident, but this could mean that UK workers could benefit from subsequent pay rises. Discussions are taking place in reference to the possibility of a “ brickie visa” which will enable European workers to continue to work in the UK, whilst the industry invests more money in trading and apprenticeship programmes. 

And Finally…

We have taken a careful look at how salaries in the construction industry fluctuated in 2016. See how you compare.