Weekly Economic and Construction Update – 20 January 2023

Date Published

20 January 2023

Document Type




UK construction average weekly earnings in November 2022 overall were 6.2% higher than a year ago according to the ONS. Clearly, it will vary considerably by occupation as wage rises for some have been significantly higher than this. Given CPI inflation of 10.7% in November, this means construction wages in real terms fell by 4.5%.

The fall in UK construction real wages is despite persistent skills shortages in some areas of the industry, particularly for some skilled trades and specialist engineers. Annual real wage growth has been negative for 14 consecutive months in UK construction, even before the energy, oil and commodity price spikes in Spring last year (so the real wage falls are not just because of the sharp rise in economy-wide inflation since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine).

UK construction real wages are highly likely remain negative until economy-wide inflation slows considerably (over a year on from the energy, oil and commodity price spikes) later this year and then as construction demand slows in some key sectors such as private housing new build and repair, maintenance and improvement (rm&i) during 2023.

Case studies

Reconfiguring and extending a studio flat at the rear of a converted Edwardian house, this project by Christian Brailey Architects is a celebration of the characteristics and craftsmanship of timber.

In the 1990s Oxo Tower Wharf entered a new lease of life when Coin Street Community Builders began a major refurbishment project to transform the building into an awardwinning mixed use development of co-operative homes, retail design studios, specialist shops, galleries, restaurants, cafes and bars.