Construction Pay Increased in First Quarter

CONSTRUCTION SITE wages were up by an average of 1.6% in Q1 2024 compared with the previous quarter, and up by 7.0% on an annual basis.

According to the latest figures from Hays/BCIS Site Wage Cost Indices, compared with Q4 2023, skilled building trade workers’ wages showed the strongest growth across the data. Plant operatives’ and unskilled and semi-skilled workers’ wages remained static.



Skill Level


Percentage change 1Q2024 on: 






Building Trades Skilled

Mechanical and Electrical Trades Skilled

Plant Operatives

Unskilled and Semi-skilled

Pay Increase

The greatest annual growth was also seen among skilled building trade workers, whose pay was on average 12.5% higher than in 1Q 2023, though wages were up in all skill categories over the 12-month period.

Paul Burrows, who compiles the indices for BCIS, said: “Rates for skilled trades and M&E are generally rising, suggesting that these skills are still in short supply, whereas rates for unskilled grades and plant operators remain flat.

“Construction output fell again in Q1 2024, particularly in private commercial and industrial new work, though new orders data, which is a snapshot of potential future work, showed an increase in planned work. I would expect to see more upwards pressure on wages if those orders translate into output.”

Fewer New Jobs

Hays also reported fewer construction job placements in Q4 2023, continuing a decrease which has been seen since 2021.

Rates that took effect in January 2024 included a 7% increase for plumbers and electricians in England and electricians in Scotland, and a 1.5% increase for asphalters. There were also increases for steelworkers and in thermal insulation roles.

Plumbers in Scotland have an agreed 4.0% increase in August 2024, and heating and ventilating workers a 3% increase in October 2024.

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