Demand for tradespeople sees millions planning career move


Date: 19 October 2021

A busy painter and decorator at work

More than one in ten UK workers are thinking about retraining in a trade as demand for plumbers, electricians, joiners and builders soars.

New research conducted by City Plumbing has found that as many as 3.7 million Brits are considering a career change in favour of a trade like plumbing or construction, representing 12% of working adults in the UK.

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

The study reveals that there are currently 94,912 advertised vacancies in the trade and construction sector, which equates to 8% of all open roles (1.17 million). This has increased by a massive 345% in the past year. Builders/labourers are the most sought-after currently (8,100 vacancies), followed by electricians (5,641), painter/decorators (3,866), carpenters (3,491) and plumbers (3,251).

The average salary for tradespeople is £37,939 per year, 10.9% higher than the UK average (£34,261). Salaries in this sector have also increased 4.3% year-on-year. There is also the potential to earn more in specific areas - for example, a gardener in Manchester earns £9k more than the UK average (£34,093 versus £25,047) and it's the same for a plumber in Warrington (£41,889 versus £32,864).

Demand for tradespeople shows no signs of diminishing. According to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the industry will need more than 200,000 new workers by 2025 to meet demand.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job search engine Adzuna, said: "Demand for skilled tradespeople has gone through the roof since the start of the pandemic. Powered by a surge in demand for home improvements, the last year has seen a sharp increase in advertised job vacancies for trades ranging from plumbers, builders and plasterers, to heating engineers, bathroom fitters, and tree surgeons. Homeowners up and down the UK are putting more love and attention into their surroundings, particularly as many workers transition to permanent home working or a hybrid set up. Others have built up a financial buffer over the last year and are finally starting to check off their home projects.

"Factoring in an existing shortage of skilled workers, plus the dip in overseas tradespeople bringing their skills to the UK due to the pandemic, and demand for skilled professionals is at an all-time high. For young people starting out and considering getting into a trade, now is a great time to learn their craft with thousands of job openings on offer and advertised salaries pushing up as employers compete for staff."

Written by Rachel Miller.

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.