A study commissioned from a UK builders’ merchant has revealed that there are over one million vacancies in the Trade and Construction sector in the UK, making up one out of every 12 roles advertised, or 8 per cent of all available roles.

The Guardian reports that 80 per cent of UK employers are planning to recruit new workers over the next 12 months, as Brexit and the pandemic have caused massive shortages in a number of industries, including hospitality, haulage, construction, and social care.

It is the highest recruitment intention in the UK for eight years, particularly in Scotland and Wales where 88 per cent plan to hire over the next 12 months, followed by 87 per cent in the East of England and 85 per cent in London.

The construction sector has boomed in the past year since the lockdowns were lifted, and work could restart, which has led to a 345 per cent increase in job vacancies in the industry.

The most sought after tradespeople are builders and labourers, with 8,100 vacancies, followed by electricians (5,641), painter/decorators (3,866), carpenters (3,491) and plumbers (3,251).

Kent, Greater Manchester, South East London, Hampshire and Essex currently have the most trade roles being advertised.

The average salary being advertised is £37,939 per annum, which is 10.9 per cent higher than the UK average of £34,261. Salaries have also increased by 4,3 per cent year-on-year, as driving demand has increased competition, which in turn has driven up the amount of money that firms are willing to pay for skilled tradespeople.


Current average advertised salary per role:

  • Heating Engineer £44,305
  • Carpenter £41,284
  • WindowFitter £40,198
  • Plumber/Pipe Fitter £38,573
  • Tiler £38,377
  • Electrician £37,780
  • Bathroom Fitter £37,158
  • Joiner £36,746
  • Plasterer £35,498
  • Painter Decorator £33,004
  • Floor Layer £32,403
  • Roofer £32,244
  • Tradesperson £30,294
  • Carpet Fitter £30,194
  • Tree Surgeon £28,883
  • SpecialistWelder £27,436
  • Landscape Gardener £27,319
  • Builder/Labourer £23,450
  • Locksmith £25,830


There are regional differences in salaries too, depending on the demand in some areas. For instance, a gardener in Manchester can earn £9,000 more than the national average for the role (£25,047), as can a plumber in Warrington (£41,889 versus £32,864).

The typical entry route into the industry is by apprenticeship, and 7 per cent of all apprenticeships started in England in 2021 were in the construction/planning and built environment sector.

However, there has been a reported decline in the number of trade apprenticeships, down to 17,700 in 2021, compared to 21,900 in 2020, and 22,530 in 2019.

Typically, 85 per cent of new apprentices are aged 25 or under, and experts believe that in order to plug the current skills gap more older adults should be encouraged to re-train in this area.

City Plumbing’s ‘School’s Out, Trades In’ report reveals that more than one in nine working adults in the UK (12 per cent) are currently considering it too.

The most popular trades to upskill in are plumbing (11 per cent), building (11 per cent), gardening (8 per cent), electrics (6 per cent), joinery (6 per cent) and painting/decorating (5 per cent).


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