Highest Paying Construction Jobs in the UK

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The data used to inform this article has been taken from Linear Recruitment’s internal salary data covering April 2020 to March 2021, analysing over 40,000 salary data points on candidates we have placed in permanent and temporary roles, and is not indicative of the wider industry, nor future roles available through Linear Recruitment.

The UK Construction Industry has faced many challenges over the past couple of years, not only with the global Covid-19 pandemic, but also the effect that Brexit has had on the industry and skill shortages that have arisen. We have experienced site closures, self isolations, staff shortages and reduced candidate availability.

However what is clear is that it has maintained its position as one of the highest paying sectors with an average industry salary of £45,774 annually - around 15% higher than the average full-time UK salary of £38,600.  

Additionally, although the future of the construction industry in the UK is unclear at the moment, the demand for permanent professional staff is increasing as employers seek to secure talent in anticipation of a future skills shortage.

To that end, if you’re considering entering the construction industry or are looking to build your construction career, you’ll want to know which construction trades are the best paid and offer the greatest earning potential.

Combining our own internal recruitment data with publicly available information, we’ve pulled together a short guide covering the highest paying construction jobs and what you can expect to make as a construction worker here in the UK. 

How much do Construction Workers make in the UK?

Working in the UK construction industry usually requires knowledge in a specialist trade, with construction projects requiring a host of individual jobs to be performed as a small part of a larger whole. That means there’s a wide variety of different opportunities for construction workers from Bricklayers to Electricians, Joiners to Telehandlers and Site Managers through to Quantity Surveyors. 

Many roles don’t require a degree yet can achieve comparable salaries to their degree-qualified peers. Indeed, blue-collar individuals who can develop deeply specialised skills in particular areas of construction stand to achieve excellent salary progression as these skills become increasingly in demand.

However, reaching the technically oriented managerial positions which command the highest salaries in construction will require a University degree plus direct hands-on experience in a construction trade.

Here, employees with a wide skillset, rather than deep, will find the opportunity to excel due to their ability to understand the bigger picture of construction projects above an individual role.

What is the average Construction Worker salary in the UK?

According to our data, the average construction salary in the UK in 2020/1 is £45,774 per annum and the average hourly rate is £12.88 per hour. In 2019, this was £43,946 annually representing slow growth of just over 4% over the past year.

This ranges from £22,000 per year for a Junior/Trainee Buyer to £80,000 per year for a Construction Manager role in salaried positions, and £9.25 per hour for a General Labourer, £11.47 for a Groundworker to £12.73 per hour for a Telehandler in positions paid at an hourly rate, working on a PAYE basis and without taking regional differences into account. It is important to remember that these rates are for the period up to March 2021. As of September 2021, we are seeing increases to these rates, as pressures on candidate availability come in to play.

How does day-rate vs hourly-rate Construction Worker pay compare?

Many construction contractors, especially those in specific labourer or trades positions, are contracted to work at hourly or day-rates, rather than on pro-rated salaries or hourly PAYE.

Our data shows the average UK construction worker day-rate in 2020 is £272 per day and the average hourly-rate is £19.46 per hour. This ranges from £98 per day for Labourers to £400 per day for Construction Manager roles in day-rate positions, and £11.31 per hour for a General Labourer to £46.67 per hour for a Consultant role in hourly-rate positions, for construction workers on a non-PAYE basis. 

It is important to also understand that rates can and do vary from company to company and can fluctuate dependent on industry conditions. These rates also do not take into account bonuses or other benefits sometimes included in employment packages, such as company cars or travel allowances.

What is the average UK Construction Worker salary per region?

As is typical of most industries, the average UK construction worker salary changes with location. Salaries for construction workers in London outstrip the average of other regions and construction salaries in Yorkshire & the Midlands are lowest at £43,727.

RegionAverage SalarySalary Range
North East£45,336£23,000 - £80,000
North West£48,781£23,000 - £87,000
Yorkshire & Midlands£43,727£22,000 - £80,000

What are the best paid Construction jobs in the UK?

1. Commercial Manager

Average Salary with Linear Recruitment: £75,000 

Salaries across the market:
Assistant Commercial Manager: £38,088 (Glassdoor)
Commercial Manager: £57,500 (TotalJobs)
Senior Commercial Manager: £66,623 (Glassdoor)

Commercial Managers are responsible for the financial management of a project or projects.  Managing subordinates and ensuring all stakeholders understand and adhere to contractual obligations, they also hold responsibility for minimising financial risk, maximising financial opportunity, accurate project reporting and agreeing final accounts.  

2. Construction Manager

Average Salary with Linear Recruitment: £78,333 

Salaries across the market:
Assistant Construction Manager: £33,839 (Glassdoor)
Construction Manager: £55,266 (Glassdoor)

Construction Managers oversee the construction elements of a project or part of; ensuring the scheme is completed on time, to budget and within Health & Safety guidelines.  They are additionally responsible for the management of directly employed staff and sub-contractors.

3. Design Manager

Average Salary with Linear Recruitment: £62,000
Salaries across the market:
Design Manager: £62,500 (TotlalJobs)
Senior Design Manager £70,001 (Glassdoor)

Design Managers typically manage all design aspects of a project from inception to completion, working within a nominated project team. Design Managers will bring together all stakeholders including architects and engineers to create co-ordinated designs, which are utilised during the build programme and to help with the maintenance of the completed project. Design Managers play a crucial role in working with the Pre-Construction department to prepare tender documents and informing on all design matters, managing the Design team and communicating with all project subcontractors along with managing the design development process.

4. Project Manager

Average Salary with Linear Recruitment: £66,417

Salaries across the market:
Construction Project Manager: £58,701 (TotalJobs)
Senior Construction Project Manager: £75,673 (Glassdoor)

Project Managers oversee the construction elements of a project or part of; ensuring the scheme is completed on time, to budget and within Health & Safety guidelines.  Responsible for the management of directly employed staff and sub-contractors.     

5.Site Manager

Average Salary with Linear Recruitment: £48,611

Salaries across the market:
Assistant Site Manager: £42,500 (TotalJobs)
Site Manager: £52,500 (TotalJobs)

Senior Site Manager: £57,175 (Glassdoor)

Site Managers are responsible for the production progress on sites with full responsibility and control of site staff and sub-contractors, ensuring the scheme is delivered to a high standard with minimum defects, and promoting high levels of health and safety. Salaries vary according to the sector of the construction industry they operate in.

6.Technical Coordinator

Average Salary with Linear Recruitment: £47,000

Salaries across the market:
Technical Coordinator: £48,596 (Glassdoor)
Senior Technical Coordinator: £57,021 (Indeed)

Coordinating all technical information on projects from inception to completion; providing architectural and engineering support for projects and checking and approving architect's and engineer's drawings, Technical Coordinators also issue drawings and information for construction purposes.

7. Quantity Surveyor

Average Salary with Linear Recruitment: £47,250 

Salaries across the market:
Assistant Quantity Surveyor: £37,500 (TotalJobs)
Quantity Surveyor: £57,500 (TotalJobs)
Senior Quantity Surveyor: £62,500 (TotalJobs)

Responsible for the financial planning, control, management of a project and to ensure the effective administration of the commercial and financial aspects of the contract.  Quantity Surveyors maximise cash flow through the timely preparation of valuations, submission of invoices and receipt of payment and to manage the prompt preparation and settlement of final accounts, including variations, claims and disputes.

8. Estimator

Average Salary with Linear Recruitment: £50,000 

Salaries across the market:
Assistant Estimator: £37,500 (TotalJobs)
Estimator: £47,500 (TotalJobs)
Senior Estimator: £62,500 (TotalJobs)

Responsible for the preparation of project tenders in order to secure workload at a profitable level.  To advise of tender workload and keep management aware of key client projects and ensure handovers from preconstruction and construction are detailed and thorough for all items.

9. Site Engineer

Average Salary with Linear Recruitment: £41,667

Salaries across the market:
Site Engineer: £36,977 (Glassdoor)
Senior Site Engineer: £41,820 (Glassdoor)

Site Engineers work with project personnel to develop the detailed design, delivery and handover of the allocated scheme; supervision of subcontractors and ensuring works are delivered in line with their works instruction, as well as setting out for various aspects on site including drainage, structures, safety barrier and fencing.

10. General Foreman

Average Salary with Linear Recruitment: £35,000

Salaries across the market:
General Foreman: £43,689 (Indeed)
Senior General Foreman: £45,361 (Indeed)

Responsible for assisting with the production elements of projects and the management of work plans and risk assessments.  The management of directly employed labour and sub-contractors and helping ensuring projects are completed with minimum defects.

11. Finishing Manager

Average Salary with Linear Recruitment: £40,000
Salaries across the market

Finishing Manager: £44,850 (Talent.com)

Finishing Foreperson: £34,234 (Payscale)

Finishing Managers are responsible for managing the final phases of a project and will manage both Finishing Trade Sub-Contractors and internal employees on site to ensure a successful completion and straightforward handover of the project – on time, within budget and to the highest standards. Those working in such a role tend to come from internal trades backgrounds.

Build Your Construction Career with Linear Recruitment

There are so many different jobs available in construction, whether working as a labourer, with a trade, or in a managerial or supervisory position, yet all of them have excellent earning potential. What’s more, experience in construction is applicable worldwide so as national circumstances change, opportunities across Europe and beyond for skilled construction workers may become available.

Whether across the UK or beyond, Linear Recruitment is your expert advisor for careers and recruitment in the construction industry. If you’re ready to begin looking for a new role, check out our current construction vacancies, or to be considered for future roles which match your skillset, register with us today.