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2016 Trades Salary Survey: Electricians Still Earn The Most

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 5th January 2016

We have since posted our 2017 Salary Survey with the most up to date data.

Every year we study the data from the Office of National Statistics to let you know what is happening in terms of salaries for electricians, plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers, tilers and a few other trades.  

Average Electrician Salary (£30,444)

So the data is in and following the last 2 surveys it is no surprise that Electricians still earn the most on average of all the trades. Despite increased growth in salaries in a number of different trades electricians still earn around £1300 more than plumbers who are ranked second in this survey. Check out the interactive chart below where you can see the average salary for each trade and also see the percentage change over the last 12 months:


When we last ran this survey interestingly plumbers has seen one of the smallest increases in pay whilst electricians had seen one of the largest. Those roles are now reversed and it looks as if the plumbing industry has been playing catch up over the past year. The really big surprise has been a 10% increase in the average salary for tilers.

How do electricians charge for their time?

When looking at the money each trade earns it is important to note that a "salary" is only really part of the picture. Most of the electricians that work in peoples homes will usually charge a day rate or a fixed rate for particular jobs. Electricians who actually earn a salary are in the minority which the majority working on contract or as a self employed tradesperson. As such it is quite hard to gauge how much an electrician does earn as there are no national statistics for this.

Hourly Rates / Day Rates (£20-£50 Per Hour / £140-£350 Per Day)

Hourly and day rates vary drastically from location to location and electrician to electrician. An experienced electrician in London will most likely charge around £45 per hour or £300 per day, whereas a junior electrician in Newcastle is likely to earn far less in comparison. Most tradesmen tend to charge for a specific job and will include the costs of materials in any quote. As such it can be very hard to gauge how much an electrician is making. A good guide is always how much you are being charged for a new consumer unit. I am based in Brighton and was recently quoted £500 for a new consumer unit. Bearing in mind the units cost around £130 this electrician is likely to take home around £370 for a days work.

What are trainee salaries like? (Around £21K)

Many people start out as apprentices who often earn below the minimum wage. However most Trade Skills 4U customers front load their training and complete their technical certificates first (2365 Level 2&3). This then enables them to command a higher starting salary when they start working as an electricians mate.  Most should be able to start out on a trainee wage of around £21k per annum. A quick search online reveals that most jobs for electrician mates start off at around £11 per hour although we have just seen one locally offering £107 per day which comes in at over £25K which is great for a starting salary.

JIB Wage Grades

The JIB publish wage grades on their website here. Whilst the JIB have clear guidelines for what an electrician can earn these are guidelines only and not every employer sticks to these.

As of the 4th January 2016 the JIB suggests you should earn the following hourly rates if you have your own transport:

Trainee Electrician - £11.56 - £13.68

Electrician - £14.39

Approved Electrician - £15.61

Site Technician - £17.57

And if you live in London or the south east you should expect:

Trainee Electrician - £12.94 - £15.33

Electrician - £16.13

Approved Electrician - £17.48

Site Technician - £19.68

In order to qualify for the higher pay grades most people will need to fulfil the following:

1. Trainee Electrician - Apprenticeship or electricians mate usually with C&G 2365 Diplomas

2. Electrician - Relevant qualifications, Level 3 NVQ & AM2 (These days a 2357)

3. Approved Electrician - As per number 2 plus periodic inspection and testing qualification such as the C&G 2394/2395

4. Site Technician - As per number 3 plus over 5 years experience (3 of which in a supervisory role) plus a level 4 qualification such as a HNC

With such a variety of ways to be employed and earn it is very hard to say specifically how much an electrician should earn. We have had students walk out of here straight into jobs installing smart meters earning £150 per day plus a company van and others who end up working on site at £11 per hour. As with any career if you work hard, deliver good quality work and build a solid reputation you should be able to earn a decent salary and have great job satisfaction.





Categories: salary, survey