The Federation of Master Builders

London's construction apprentices will earn more than uni students

Published date: 05 March 2018

Construction apprentices will go on to earn thousands of pounds more, every year, than many of their university-educated counterparts, according to the latest research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) London.

Small building firms in London were asked what they pay their tradespeople and the average annual salaries were as follows:

  • Site managers earn £64,439;
  • Plumbers earn £62,614;
  • Supervisors earn £60,942;
  • Civil engineering operatives earn £60,018;
  • Electricians earn £57,947;
  • Roofers earn £54,634;
  • Steel fixers earn £54,467;
  • Bricklayers earn £53,338;
  • Scaffolders earn £53,151;
  • Carpenters/joiners earn £51,801;
  • Plasterers earn £51,587;
  • Floorers earn £48,729;
  • Plant operatives earn £48,080;
  • General construction operatives earn £41,992;
  • Painters & decorators earn £41,597;
  • Labourers earn £30,529.

The highest reported annual salary for bricklayers in London was £90,000 a year. However, some of London’s university graduates earn the following average annual salaries:

  • Teachers earn £42,040;
  • Midwives earn £37,483;
  • Chartered and certified accountants earn £44,244;
  • Architects earn £40,467;
  • Physiotherapists earn £36,792;
  • Nurses earn £36,672;
  • Pharmacists earn £42,511.

Barry Mortimer, Director of FMB London, said: “Construction apprentices are set to earn significantly more each year than many of their university-educated peers. Our latest research shows that your average electrician in London is earning £58,000 per year and bricklayers aren’t far behind, earning £53,000 a year. What’s more, some bricklayers in London are commanding wages of up to £90,000 a year. University students in England will graduate with an average £50,800 of debt, according to The Institute for Fiscal Studies, while apprentices actually earn while they learn. Indeed, the average construction apprentice will take home around £17,000 a year while they’re in training. Pursuing a career in construction is certainly becoming an increasingly canny move.”

Mortimer concluded: “Not only are the salaries high but the construction industry is an extremely rewarding sector to work in. Furthermore, there are ample job opportunities stemming from the construction skills shortage. During National Apprenticeship Week, we’re urging the capital’s young people to give a career in construction serious consideration. We’re also calling on all parents and teachers, who too-often favour academic education over vocational studies, to encourage the next generation to consider an apprenticeship over A levels or a degree. Our latest research shows that more than two-thirds of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers and nearly as many firms are reporting problems hiring carpenters. The Mayor’s plan to build 66,000 new homes a year in London could well be unrealistic if there is a lack of skilled workers. In order to address this before it’s too late, the FMB is working with the wider industry and the Government to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships.”

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