For a long time, there has been the perception that in order to get a well paid job, you need to go to university. Well, recent research has destroyed this misconception.

Conducted by the Federation of Master Builders, it found that construction apprentices are likely to go on and earn thousands of pounds more in comparison to university graduates. The chief executive of the FMB described: “Money talks.”

“And when it comes to annual salaries, a career in construction trumps many university graduate roles.”

“The average university graduate earns £32,000 a year whereas your average bricky or roofer is earning £42,000 a year across the UK.”

“Indeed in London, a bricklayer is commanding wages of up to £90,000 a year.”

“Pursuing a career in construction is therefore becoming an increasingly savvy move.”

When asking small businesses across the UK what they paid their workers, average salaries were determined for each trade. At the top of the list was site managers earning, on average, £51,266 a year. In second place was plumbers earning an average of £48,675 a year. And in third place, was site supervisors earning slightly less at £48,407 a year.

In comparison, university graduates who became pharmacists were found to earn £42,252. Dental practitioners were found to earn £40,268 on average and architects earned around £38,228 a year. This is without all of the debt associated with university too!

Chief executive Brian Berry added: “University students 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.”

“We are therefore calling on all parents, teachers and young people, who too-often favour academic education, to give a career in construction serious consideration.”

The full results were as follows:

– Site managers: £51,266

– Plumbers: £48,675

– Supervisors: £48,407

– Electricians: £47,265

– Civil engineering operatives: £44,253

– Steel fixers: £44,174

– Roofers: £42,303

– Bricklayers: £42,034

– Carpenters and joiners: £41,413

– Plasterers: £41,045

– Scaffolders: £40,942

– Floor layers: £39,131

– Plant operatives: £38,409

– Painters and decorators: £34,587

– General construction operatives: £32,392

In comparison to this, university graduates were found to earn average annual salaries of:

– 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

Berry concluded: “The construction industry is in the midst of an acute skills crisis and we are in dire need of more young people, including women and ethnic minorities, to join us.”

“Our latest research shows that more than two-thirds of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers and 63 per cent are having problems hiring carpenters.”

“This is a stark reminder of how the government’s housing targets could be scuppered by a lack of skilled workers.”

“The FMB is committed to working to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships because the only way we will build a sustainable skills base is by training more young people, and to a high standard.”

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the construction industry though. With the highs, also come the lows. Take a look at the best (and worst) things about being self-employed in the industry here.

So what do you think of this? Would you recommend joining the construction industry? Let us know in the comments below.


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