Directors’ salaries at housebuilders still above inflation but fail to match previous years’ increases, Building survey finds

Uncertainty around the UK’s economic prospects have contributed to pegging back average wage growth among the country’s senior housebuilding personnel, according to Building’s latest annual housebuilders’ salary survey.

Figures from recruitment firm PSD, which carried out the survey, show that while the 2.7% increase in director-level salaries across the sector in 2019 was a full percentage point above the UK’s current inflation rate, it was down on 2018’s average salary increase of 3.7% and the preceding year’s 4.8%.


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Growth was unevenly distributed across the UK, with Scotland seeing overall salary levels rising by less than half a per cent on average, while London was in line with the overall average.

The region seeing the greatest salary hikes over the year was the South-east, which just broke through the 3% barrier, while the North-west of England was not far behind with average growth of 2.9%.

Demand for project directors pushed the role’s average salary up by 12% to £120,000, with those in the South-east of the country experiencing a 9% increase to £125,000.

PSD director Elliot Course said: “Project directors are in high demand because of their versatility.”

Finance directors also saw a hefty hike in their annual pay packets, with the salary average for the role up 8% to £107,000, while FDs in the capital saw their average pay increase by 7% to £160,000.

The average salary for managing directors crept up 1.2% to £174,000, with those working in London seeing a 4% increase, but bosses of housebuilding firms in Wales experienced a 4% decrease.

Course said developers were using more and more diverse ways to retain their staff. “Salary may appear to be the main driver, but when you combine pay with factors such as the desire to work closer to home, the aspiration for work/life balance, and employers offering flexible working, importance is clearly being placed on quality of life,” he added.

Confidence levels have also wavered over the past year, with 4% of survey respondents expressing caution, up from zero last year, and those believing the market is stable down nine percentage points to 20%.