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Wed April 24 2024

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Construction wages in decline as differentials diminish

23 Feb Construction site wages were down by an average of 0.7% in the last quarter of 2023, according to the Building Cost Information Service (BICS).

Fourth quarter wages were down 0.7% compare to the third quarter and up by a below-inflation 3.1% on the year, the latest Hays/BCIS Site Wage Cost Indices shows.聽

Comparing Q4 2023 with the previous quarter, unskilled and semi-skilled聽site labour did see an increase in wages, of 0.4% on average. But skilled building trades saw wages decline by 2.8%, skilled M&E trades saw wages shrink by 0.8% and plant operatives saw no change.

Comparing Q4 2023 with Q4 2022, a year before, it was the unskilled and semi-skilled聽site labour that fared the best, seeing a 7.7% rise in wages on average.

Skilled building trades saw wages rise by 1.8%, year-on-year, and skilled M&E trades saw a 5.7% rise. Plan operators, however, saw their wages stay flat across the year.

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BCIS solutions architect Paul Burrows, who compiles the indices for BCIS and recruitment firm Hays, said: 鈥淲hile unskilled rates are being pushed upwards by increases to the National Living Wage, declining workload is pushing rates down for the higher skilled roles and in the middle we have no movement.

鈥淥verall, this is compressing the wage scale for construction site labour, effectively reducing the gap between the highest and lowest paid grades.鈥

The Hays/BCIS Site Wage Cost Indices are produced using market data from Hays Recruitment, generally representing labour requirements for immediate fulfilment. Because of this, the indexes tend to be more volatile and faster to react to changes in market conditions than other labour indices, it claims.聽

Promulgated rates that took effect in January 2024 include a 7% increase for plumbers and electricians in England and electricians in Scotland, and a 1.5% increase for asphalters.聽

Got a story? Email news@theconstructionindex.co.uk

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