August wage packets for freelance workers up 2% overall, according to Hudson Contract

Freelance tradespeople beat the usual late summer slump this August, setting a record for average weekly pay.

Wage packets were above £1,000 in London, the South-east and eastern England, according to payroll firm Hudson Contract, which recorded an average labour rate increase of 2% across the country.


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Plasterers saw the biggest rise in weekly pay rates in August

Earnings traditionally dip at the end of the summer as workers take holidays, but the demand for skilled labour saw this trend bucked this year with average pay for the month up 4.6% on the same period in 2021.

Ian Anfield, managing director at Hudson Contract, said demand was largely being driven by infrastructure and work by the big housebuilders which have strong forward order sales.

But he warned that “recent volatility in financial markets has clouded the outlook with the shares of housebuilders, landlords and building suppliers under pressure as fears grow over increases in the cost of borrowing”.

He added: “In the labour market, we are starting to see a longer-term impact of Brexit. Those subbies who returned to Europe, retired or switched industries are no longer being replaced by newcomers from the EU as the tap has been turned off.”

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Plasterers saw the biggest increase in pay rates – up 10.5% to £927 a week – while regionally the South-west (6.4%), East Midlands (4.6%) and the North- east (4.6%) experienced the biggest monthly growth.

Only in the West Midlands (-1.8%) did workers see their pay packets shrink last month.