Home » Latest movement in construction site wages

Latest movement in construction site wages

Published: 20/05/2024

BCIS works with Hays Recruitment to track movement in the cost of site labour in the construction industry by providing the Hays/BCIS Site Wage Cost Indices.

The indexes were launched at the beginning of 2020 and are based on market data provided by Hays, reflecting movement in the market for agency labour on a quarterly basis.

The Hays/BCIS Site Wage Cost Indices are more volatile and faster to react to changes in market conditions than the BCIS Labour Cost Index, which represents the movement in nationally agreed wage awards across the industry as a whole.

Quarterly construction payincreased in first quarter of 2024

Construction site wages were up by an average of 1.6% in 1Q2024 compared with the previous quarter, and up by 7.0% on an annual basis, the latest data from the Hays/BCIS Site Wage Cost Indices shows. 

Compared with 4Q2023, skilled building trade workers’ wages showed the strongest growth, along with skilled mechanical and electrical workers. Plant operatives’ and unskilled and semi-skilled workers’ wages remained static.



Skill Level  


Percentage change 1Q2024 on:




All-in   +1.6%  +7.0% 
Building Trades Skilled   +4.7%   +12.5% 
Mechanical and Electrical Trades Skilled   +3.6%  +9.0% 
Plant Operatives   0.0%   +5.2% 
Unskilled and Semi-skilled   0.0%  +6.0% 

Source: BCIS, Hays

The greatest annual growth was also seen among skilled building trade workers, whose pay was on average 12.5% higher than in 1Q2023, though wages were up in all skill categories over the 12-month period.

Source: BCIS, Hays

BCIS Solutions Architect Paul Burrows, who compiles the indices for BCIS and Hays, said: ‘Rates for skilled trades and M&E are generally rising, suggesting that these skills are still in short supply, whereas rates for unskilled grades and plant operators remain flat.

‘Construction output fell again in 1Q2024, particularly in private commercial and industrial new work, though new orders data, which is a snapshot of potential future work, showed an increase in planned work. I would expect to see more upwards pressure on wages if those orders translate into output.’

Hays also reported fewer construction job placements in 4Q2023, continuing a decrease which has been seen since 2Q2021.

The Hays/BCIS Site Wage Cost Indices are produced using market data from Hays Recruitment, generally representing labour requirements for immediate fulfilment. Because of this, the indexes tend to be more volatile and faster to react to changes in market conditions than other labour indices.

The BCIS Labour Cost Index, for example, incorporates the movement in nationally agreed wage awards, which are generally updated annually, across the industry.

Promulgated rates that took effect in January 2024 included a 7% increase for plumbers and electricians in England and electricians in Scotland, and a 1.5% increase for asphalters. There were also increases for steelworkers and in thermal insulation roles.

Plumbers in Scotland have an agreed 4.0% increase in August 2024, and heating and ventilating workers a 3% increase in October 2024.

Source: BCIS, Hays, ONS

To keep up to date with the latest industry news and insights from BCIS register for our newsletter here.


The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) is the leading provider of cost and carbon data to the UK built environment. Over 4,000 subscribing consultants, clients and contractors use BCIS products to control costs, manage budgets, mitigate risk and improve project performance.

Book a demonstration

LinkedIn Follow Button - BCIS