Construction wages bounce back as demand for labour grows

Construction wages and salaries bounced back in spring, as the coronavirus lockdown eased, pushing up demand for workers.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that total pay for construction workers increased by 9.7% year-on-year for the period from March to May 2021. That followed a decline of 10.3% in April to June 2020 .

The ONS said the strong pay growth was being affected by a base effect, where the latest months are now being compared with low base period when earnings were first affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, demand for construction workers remains high, with 33,000 vacancies in the sector in the period April to June 2021, down slightly from the 35,000 in March to May 2021. The figures mean that demand for construction workers since March this year has been at its highest level in nearly 20 years – since July to September 2001, when there were 31,000 vacancies.

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  1. While it is good for labour cost to rise, we hope this is for long term and for the betterment of construction. This rise could encourage more youths to start a career in construction. We need to commence a drive to up skill the youths for the future, and this should be our vision. We are facing a shortage of skilled labour and this is one of many factors driving cost especially for the small firms. The small companies cannot compete with the larger who can pay workers more, so small firms are left with bad news for the client. Projects are taking longer to complete due to the work force turnover, Small firms either pay the higher wages or risk loosing their skilled labour. This means they the small firms have to face the client requesting more monies or hike price for new projects. With both material price rise and labour cost rise, construction at this point need a new narrative and direction. This will take a collective approach. But we need it fast. With less monies being made over the last 18 months client are weary and still penny pinching. If the industry continues on this path we could see a busted bubble in the new future. So we need a clear path to remain sustainable.

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