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Pay Rate Insights from Liquid Friday

As one of the UK’s leading umbrella companies, we have been supporting contractors and recruitment agencies for more than a decade, currently paying an average of 4,500 contractors every week across multiple industries. We consider it timely to share some key insights we hold on assignment rates across our most significant industries, overlaid against average UK pay rates.

Labour market snapshot

The labour market is continuing to recover from the effects of the pandemic, with the number of unemployed people falling below its pre-pandemic level and a strong demand for workers.  It has been widely reported that average wages are failing to keep pace with unprecedented inflation, to the extent that the Office for National Statistics have said that the “real value” of pay has fallen by 3%. This is the biggest gap between pay growth and inflation since records began over 20 years ago. Reflecting on this, CEO of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, Neil Carberry said: “Businesses across the country are doing what they can on pay, both for existing staff and to help them hire in a jobs market experiencing a severe labour shortage. But rising inflation both makes that effort hard, and reduces the gains workers feel from pay rises. In real terms, average pay has fallen compared to last year. A key way to reduce the pressure on our economy and keep inflation down will be to focus on ensuring employment rates and hours worked recover to pre-pandemic levels. Inactivity is still rising, so firms and government need to work together to address this. Recruiters have a key role to play here, from helping government with activation schemes to supporting employers with new forms of job offer to tempt people back into work”.

Average weekly pay in the UK*

  • Growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 51% and growth in regular pay was 4.7% among employees in April to June 2022
  • In terms (adjusted for inflation, growth in total and regular pay fell on the year in April to June 2022 at 2.5% for total pay and 3% for regular pay, a record fall for regular pay
  • Average total pay growth for the private sector was 5.9% in April to June 2022, and 1.8% for the public sector.  
  • Wholesale, retail and hospitality sectors saw the largest growth rate at 7.7%, followed by finance and business services sector and construction sector, both at 6.3%. This was partly because of strong bonus payments.  
Average weekly earnings in Great Britain, January 2000 - June 2022*

Like for like average weekly earnings

Accordingly to the ONS, average weeking earnings for total pay = £611.  Liquid Friday’s average weekly assignment rate across all sectors and job titles = £1003 These figures are before tax and other deductions from pay. 

Liquid Friday average pay rates per industry

For the purposes of this report, we have analysed assignment rate data** for our key industries - Construction & Rail, Engineering, Industrial and Social Care. Together, these industries make up almost 90% of Liquid Friday’s contractor workforce.

More info, more insights

We hope this report has provided a useful snapshot into the temporary worker pay rates across some key industries. Get similar content straight to your inbox by subscribing to the Liquid Friday blog.

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  *ONS average weekly earnings in Great Britain: August 2022 **assignment rate not adjusted for ERNI and before all tax and other deductions from pay