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Rates of pay for skilled self-employed workers in the construction industry have risen for the third consecutive month in the North-west, with labour rates up 3.3% in September alone.
Average weekly earnings for tradespeople has risen to £887 in the North-west, with rates in London (also up for the third month in a row) up 1.8% to £938. Pay rates dipped elsewhere in the UK during September, according to employment contract services firm Hudson Contract, as the two regions are most acutely feeling the pinch from skills shortages in the construction sector.
Labour rates in the North-west remain below many other regions despite the increase. Regardless of a 1% fall in average weekly earnings, tradespeople in the East Midlands remain the best paid, taking home £1,012 per week in September, over £100 per week more than in the North-west.
Hudson Contract has estimated that the construction industry needs as many as 140,000 additional tradespeople to make up for staff shortages; the high demand for labour has subsequently pushed up pay rates in region’s where it is most needed. The firm’s Managing Director Ian Anfield also blamed the ongoing income support for self-employed people and major infrastructure projects for exacerbating skills shortages further; he said:
We estimate that through Covid the industry has been short of as many as 140,000 tradespeople, or 10% down on where we could have been, which has helped drive up labour rates in the face of high demand.
“Skills shortages – once an acute regional problem – has been exacerbated across the country by the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
£As SEISS ends, many will return to work but because huge infrastructure projects such as Hinkley Point and HS2 are in full swing, government departments have accelerated ‘shovel-ready’ projects and the ongoing housing and domestic work, demand will continue to outstrip supply.”