A recent survey by accountancy provider, NoPalaver Group, found that in 2007-8, 26,000 construction contractors earned over £50,000, but by 2010-11, this number had more than halved to 12,000.
The construction sector was hit particularly hard by the recession, increasing competition for jobs and leading to lower pay. However, the fall represents a decline in pay levels rather than a fall in the overall number of contractors working in the construction sector.
The total number of construction contractors remained broadly consistent during the recession, falling by less than one per cent between 2007 and 2011, compared to a fall of more than 53 per cent in the number of high earning contractors over the same period.
Graham Jenner, Director at NoPalaver, said: “These figures show that the recovery we are starting to see in the construction market could not have come at a more important time.
“Pay for construction contractors took a battering in the recession. As the wider economic recovery takes hold, hopefully we will start to see a rapid recovery in construction contractors’ pay.
“The house building stimulus provided by the Help to Buy scheme has definitely helped, but widespread house building is being hampered by poor access to finance for the smaller housebuilders.
“If we see the broad based recovery in the construction sector that everyone is hoping for, pay will start to rise as the pool of available contractors tightens.
“Construction contractors will be hopeful about their prospects in 2014 if we do see the powerful combination of increased house building, high demand from infrastructure projects and a recovery in commercial property construction.”
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2014