Construction pay rises as EU workers weigh up leaving UK – survey

Wednesday 26th June 2019 06:24 EDT

A survey by specialist recruitment firm Randstad reveals that the average pay for a job in construction has increased to £45,900 despite a fall in the vacancies being advertised. The figure rose from £42,300 in 2017, while rates are even higher for site managers. The average salary for a construction site manager is £50,500, and about £3,000 higher in London.

Randstad's Owen Goodhead said, "The best senior site managers are earning close to an MP's salary. While that's good news for individuals, it's potentially not such great news for the economy." The survey gave an example of a senior site manager on £62,900 a year having been poached for a new job in Welwyn Garden City with the offer of a salary of £78,000.

Average pay of site engineers was said to have jumped by 19 per cent to £44,300 and by eight per cent for project managers, to £64,200. Goodhead said, "Our research shows that construction workers from overseas are being put off coming to the UK and those that are here are thinking about moving elsewhere. We know that over a third of European construction workers who are already here have considered leaving the UK due to Brexit."

He added, "This should be of huge concern to industry leaders and the government, especially in the capital, where nearly one in three people working in London's construction sector were born in the EU. The shrinking pool of EU talent is already driving up wages - that's the power of supply and demand. This builder Brexodus is the referendum's inheritance."

On the other hand, manufacturers are not reacting well to the uncertainty over Brexit delaying progress on the government's industrial strategy. Research by the business advisory firm, BDO suggested that most manufacturers did not think enough progress had been made, 18 months after the strategy was announced. Many of the 200 firms surveyed voiced concerns over a continued shortage of skilled workers.

Tom Lawton of BDO said, "The UK's manufacturing industry is being hit twice over the effects of Brexit. Order books are being affected by uncertainty over when and how the UK will leave the EU, and the government is being severely distracted from delivering its industrial strategy. The new leadership contest is diverting attention even further away from what UK manufacturing needs right here, right now."

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