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The Best Paid Trades in the UK

Rhino Trade Insurance 07 April 2023

If you are a hands-on individual, then working in the trade industry could be the place for you. Careers in the trades require specific skills that can ultimately provide you with a very healthy income. The best-paid jobs are built from training or classroom-based learning, including colleges, trade schools, universities or apprenticeships. 

Rhino Trade Insurance not only provides quality cover for tradespeople, but we also explore trends in the industry. Today, we want to focus our efforts on the highest-paid trade jobs, where certain trades do better and answer other common questions along the way. 

What are the highest-paying trades?

Not everybody likes or wants to spend their days inside an office. Some enjoy being outside, breathing in the fresh air, getting their hands dirty and working on different projects every week. Money is an important factor when it comes to working in the trades and deciding on an avenue to take, but it shouldn't be the main deciding point. Remember to explore careers you will enjoy and feel enthusiastic about approaching each day - otherwise, those cold mornings in winter will be much harder. 

With that said, here are some of the top trade careers with average salaries in the UK as collected by Glassdoor and Indeed:

  • Site Manager - £45,355
  • Carpenter £45,299
  • Structural Engineer - £40,947
  • Electrician - £36,699
  • Heating Engineer - £36,121
  • Bricklayer - £32,766
  • Plumbing - £31,057

Remember, these figures are taken for employed tradespeople from job posting websites. The statistics have been analysed from various job postings across the UK; for self-employed tradespeople and business owners, your income has no ceiling and can be much higher than the average salary. 

Which trades are in high demand?

The trade skills shortage in the UK is something we regularly write about as it's a serious matter for the future of the industry. Trade workers across the country have been left with a huge demand for their services thanks to the massive gap in skilled labour. Since the Coronavirus pandemic, British households have gone home improvement mad. Together with the aggressive home-building targets set by the government and authorities, the industry shows no signs of slowing down, leaving tradespeople's workload stacked and their opportunity to earn unparalleled. 

Using the top 100 largest towns and cities, research from Google searches has found the number of times people in these locations searched for specific tradespeople using the term' trade name near me. Here are some of the most significant results and who is hotly in demand:

  • Plumbers were the most searched for trade, commanding 23% of overall searches. With over 400,000 google searches for this trade every month, the most prominent hot spots include Blackpool, Bedford and Lincoln. 
  • Electricians are second on the list and are searched for just over 285,000 times a month, with the biggest searches coming from Worcester, Bedford and Preston. 
  • Landscapers, Builders, Plasterers, Carpenters and Joiners all had well over 100,000 monthly searches for their respective trades, with Bricklayers, Builders and Painters/Decorators all between 17,000 and 35,000 searches. 

The original report can be found here

How qualifications & experience help with your salary

Staying current with the latest qualifications and broadening your professional horizon will help increase your salary. Every year, newer technologies and regulations drive the industry forward, so being ahead of the curve will help keep you at the forefront of your trade. 

From learning new skills to updating qualifications or passing on your knowledge to others, your trade business risks being left behind if it doesn't learn to adapt and thrive. Of course, once you are fully trained, you can be a jobbing tradesman or woman, but the industry will still develop, so you should always keep one eye on the latest news. 

Knowledge is power and power grants wealth, and this is the case in the trades. Take, for example, some of the government's targets to reduce carbon emissions; their proposals include training for specific trades that allow them to add new strings to their bow and increase their offerings to customers (think Heat Pumps and EV chargers). 

There are various ways to develop professionally and increase how much you earn. Consider doing the following:

  • Join trade organisations
  • Study at a higher level beyond your apprenticeship
  • Enrol in extra-curricular courses that complement your trade
  • Become an industry mentor
  • Build your local/ national contact base
  • Stay up-to-date on industry news

Read why you should take your qualifications and expertise seriously after finishing your apprenticeship

The best and worst locations for trades in the UK 

There's no rhyme or reason when it comes to showing where one earns better money or has a better work-life for certain trade jobs than others. For example, The Electrical Times concluded a report showcasing various levers that are important to determining whether a location is good for trade. They measured things like the monthly searches for that trade, how many jobs were available, how many tradespeople were in that area and the average hourly rate. 

From this, their report concludes specific findings for where is best and worst for certain trades in the UK: 


Best locations: Bristol, Edinburgh and Cambridge

Worst locations: Truro, Newry and Lisburn


Best locations: Manchester, Leeds, and Edinburgh

Worst locations: Lisburn, Newry and Inverness


Best locations: Manchester, Bristol, and Edinburgh

Worst locations: Derry, Lancester and Canterbury


Best locations: Bristol, Gloucester and Manchester,

Worst locations: Newry, Lisburn and Durham


Best locations: Bristol, Cardiff, and Peterborough

Worst locations: Durham, Southend and Lichfield


Best locations: Manchester, Leeds, and Edinburgh

Worst locations: Lisburn, Newry and Inverness

What else should you know?

How technology and automation are affecting the earning potential in different trades

Trade businesses should be looking for ways to make their workloads easier. This can include offering services like online payments, bookings through an app, automated invoices, bookkeeping tools and more. Streamlining your operations means that you will work smarter and not harder - thus increasing your time to focus on ways to grow your trade business. 

Not looking into certain services and apps like Tradify, QuickBooks or Sage will only hold your business back and reduce the chances of increasing your earning potential. 

Have the right Insurance.

All trade businesses in the UK must explore their insurance options. This should be one of the first things you research when starting out. Customers of all types will expect a certain level of insurance; some can even turn down your service if you don't hold the required cover for their project. Take local organisations and councils, for example; if they need a large project to be worked on and your business is under consideration, ensuring you have the correct level of protection in place can help you edge over competitors. 

Not only that, but insurance will protect your finances if anything goes wrong on-site, thus keeping you financially sound and able to continue operating as a trade business. 

Why choose Rhino Trade Insurance?

Considering your trade insurance options? Newly qualified, looking to expand your business or just looking for a better price? Why not get in touch with Rhino Trade Insurance on 0116 243 7904? 

Our trade policy specialists will be able to answer any questions you have and give you a price in just a few minutes. Need more information? Find out more by reading what we can offer online and getting a quote today

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