Remember that tough decision you had to make: go to uni or learn a trade? It turns out you made the right call, with recent research revealing that tradespeople earn more than scores of university graduates.
And we’re not just talking about small change, either.
According to the research carried out by The Federation of Master Builders, brickies, plumbers and other skilled professionals were taking home earnings which dwarfed those of graduates by thousands of pounds.
Plumbers & electricians among top earners
Whilst site managers rule the proverbial roost, with average earnings of over £51,000, electricians and plumbers weren’t far behind.
With the former taking home an average of £47,265, and the latter earning as much as £48,675, both outranked teachers (£37,748), accountants (£37,748) and architects (£38,228) as among the UK’s top average earners.
This isn’t exactly uncommon, either. Below is a list of the top ten trades netting tradesmen the highest average earnings:
- Site manager – £51,266
- Plumbers – £48,675
- Supervisors – £48,407
- Electricians – £47,265
- Roofers – £42,303
- Bricklayers – £42,034
- Carpenters and joiners – £41,413
- Plasterers – £41,045
- Scaffolders – £40,942
- Painters and decorators – £34,587
Compare this to university graduates, where even at the top of the list, the average pay is just over £42,000:
- Pharmacists – £42,252
- Dental practitioners – £40,268
- Architects – £38,228
- Teachers – £37,805
- Chartered and certified accountants – £37,748
- Midwives – £36,188
- Veterinarians – £36,446
- Physiotherapists – £32,065
- Nurses – £31,867
Tradesmen in the south still command the biggest bucks
Whilst the type of trade is certainly an important factor in determining how much our hardworking tradesmen earn, it isn’t the only one. According to research, location plays a significant role too.
In London, the average take-home for a bricklayer more than doubles, from £42,034 to £90,000. Not bad work if you can get it!
Money talks – a tempting proposition for new recruits
For a UK construction industry still in the grips of a much-publicised skills shortage, the research into tradesmen’s average earnings perhaps couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Money talks and when it comes to annual salaries, a career in construction trumps many university graduate roles,” said Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders.”
Indeed, with salaries eclipsing those offered by many graduate roles, attractive earnings could well help sway young people who find themselves contemplating the next step in their career.
That’s before we even mention the eye-watering level of debt most uni students leave with, a point not overlooked by Mr Berry.
“Pursuing a career in construction is, therefore, becoming an increasingly savvy move. University students in England will graduate with an average £50,800 of debt, according to The Institute for Fiscal Studies, while apprentices pass the finish line completely debt-free.
“Not only that, apprentices earn while they learn, taking home around £17,000 a year.”
See more: Bricklayer salary and Tradesman day rates.