Construction wage growth ‘double the national average’

Construction industry workers have seen their pay levels increase at twice the UK average over recent months, according to a new study.

Research from the Hays recruitment firm shows that some building professionals have benefited from wage rises of more than 10 per cent over the last 12 months.

Meanwhile, the sector’s average wage improvement of 3.6 per cent is thought to be twice the national figure.

Looking ahead to 2015, almost three quarters (71 per cent) of employers in the sector intend to offer further pay rises to their workers.

The results reflect rising activity levels within the UK construction industry, with employers aiming to secure skilled workers as they bid for new contracts.

Apprenticeships remain a key area of focus for building firms, with Hays reporting that 46 per cent have operated such schemes over the last year. Another 31 per cent have increased their staff training budgets.

Construction workers in London have benefited from some of the highest pay awards in recent times. Hays added that the East Midlands and the South East have also seen average salary increases climb above the 5 per cent mark.

Contract and project managers, quantity surveyors and site managers are among the professionals who are currently commanding the largest salary rises.

With more than eight in 10 (84 per cent) construction firms anticipating skills shortages in the 12 months ahead, Hays said 77 per cent now intend to increase their headcounts.

The growing confidence levels which have been seen among employers appear to be filtering through to construction workers on the ground.

Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of the workers who were questioned said they may look to move to a new employer in 2015.

Andrew Bredin, managing director of Hays Construction & Property, said jobseekers in the building trade often have their “pick” of jobs.

He said: “Some employees have already spotted they can earn more and decided to make a career move.”

However, Mr Bredin added that some employers might face a “crisis” when trying to hold on to their most talented members of staff.

He concluded: “With construction employees reporting high levels of dissatisfaction with pay, employers will need to look at what they can offer in order to attract and retain the best employees.”

Looking beyond the construction sector and more towards the general employment market, Hays said IT and procurement are among the other industries where large salary rises have been recorded this year.

The group said that all professions have seen counter-offers become more commonplace, with employers competing strongly for new talent.

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