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UK tradespeople earning thousands more than Uni graduates

Rhino Trade Insurance 12 May 2023

Cast your mind back to that moment in school when you had to decide whether to take up a hands-on role at college or continue academic studies at sixth form. Those of you that chose the trades made the right call, according to numerous surveys and reports in the industry. 

It's been found that tradesmen and women of all ilks are out-earning university graduates by thousands. But it's not all about the money. There are so many reasons why the trade life is so great. Let's explore why and take a look at what the future holds. 

Why become a tradesperson?

As the Abba song goes: 'Money, money, money'. There is no doubt that potential earnings play a significant role in what job you decide to pursue. It's generally understood that tradespeople of all calibres will earn a good wage due to the fact the jobs require particular skills which not just anybody possesses. 

With the current skills shortage in the UK trade industry, salaries seem set to climb even higher. Figures gathered by the Federation of Master Builders found the following average salaries in the trade industry currently are:

  1.  Site Managers: £51,266
  2.  Plumbers: £48,675 
  3.  Electricians: £47,265
  4.  Engineering: £44,253
  5.  Bricklayers: £42,034 
  6.  Carpenters/ Joiners: £41,413 
  7.  Plasterers: £41,045
  8.  Floorers: £39,131
  9.  Painters & Decorators: £34,587
  10.  General Construction Workers: £32,392

To put these figures into perspective, the FMB also gathered the average salaries for some of the top professions relating to university graduates:

  1. Pharmacists: £42,252
  2. Dentists: £40,268
  3. Architects: £38,228
  4. Teachers: £37,805
  5. Accountants: £37,748
  6. Midwives: £36,188
  7. Vets: £36,446
  8. Physios: £32,065 
  9. Nurses: £31,867

These figures may be towards the more experienced end but don’t worry. The road to earning power is a straight one, and so long as you get experience under your belt and grow your skills, you’ll reap the rewards soon enough. As soon as you become an apprentice in the trades, you will begin to earn money (the amount differs depending on your age group). This is in stark contrast to a college-goer or university student who often has to take unpaid internships to gain the experience they need. To get by, students usually need to find money through part-time work and take out gigantic loans to pay for their courses and living expenses. 

It's been found that after the usual three-year university degree, students will come out in debt totalling around £46,000. On the other hand, tradespeople generally finish their apprenticeships with no overheads as they will have been earning whilst learning and had their studies paid for by their employer and the government. 

How being a tradesperson can help in your personal life

When young adults enter their early twenties, they may consider the usual life milestones such as home ownership, marriage and starting a family. A survey conducted by Selco found that those who become tradespeople have the ability to achieve life milestones quicker than their graduate peers

You’ve probably heard young people today mourning the fact that they’ll never be able to afford marriage, property and kids (which came so easily to previous generations). If you choose a career in the trades, you’re likely to be a few steps closer to these things should you want them. 

Whether it's leaving home, buying a house or setting up your own business, tradespeople who begin their career straight out of school will find themselves qualified by the tender age of 21. What with them already having four years of experience and minimal debt, the figures suggest tradesmen and women fly the nest before the usual age of 24/25 years old. 

Owning your own home is a major life accomplishment. When it comes to Tradespeople, they easily beat graduates to owning a home. Generally, university grads gravitate towards bigger cities for better work opportunities meaning they struggle to afford to buy. Tradespeople, however, purchase a home on average three years before other professions, and as many as 1 in 6 will purchase a second home to start building a property portfolio. 

Another area to consider is their experience; many tradespeople can renovate at least some of their home by themselves. As a result, they will save hundreds or even thousands of pounds, which they may use to buy more real estate, expand their business, or increase their savings.

It's interesting to note that tradespeople marry and have children sooner than the general population. For instance, males in the trades marry five years before the UK average man, while women marry three years earlier.

General happiness in life and work

As the age-old saying goes: 'Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never work a day in your life'. Everyone aspires to reach the coveted position of being happy in their job. Again, from the Selco survey, 73% of tradespeople have been found to be satisfied and content with their work. Across the population in other professions, the figure ranges from 41% to 65%.

Whatever your scenario, you should always have cover

No matter how much you are earning or hope to earn, how happy you are in your job or how much experience you think you have, never forget the risks involved in trade work. You must remember to have a safety net in case anything goes wrong when working on-site. Remember, tradesmen and women operate in one of the riskiest industries in the world. 

As well as health & safety training, policies and procedures that every tradesperson should have in place, a comprehensive trade insurance policy will ensure your finances, reputation, and well-being stay intact should a customer, member of the public or third party bring legal charges against your business. Rhino Trade Insurance offers various levels of cover depending on your business size and shape, from Public Liability, Employers Liability, Tool cover and more. 

How Rhino can help you

Rhino is the trade insurance experts, and we have everything you need to keep your business financially protected from just about anything that could go wrong.

Choosing a career in the trades can prove extremely prosperous whilst also ensuring your mental health stays intact through well-being at work. Here at Rhino, we have first-hand experience of what a happy bunch our customers are, so we’d never hesitate to recommend trade work to anyone.

When it comes to handling a crisis, Rhino Trade Insurance is there to help keep you protected. Having a plan in place is the right thing to do, and that includes a quality insurance policy that will cover any expenses you experience due to a claim.

Contact our wonderful team on 0116 243 7904 if you have questions, or check out the Rhino website for a lightning-fast quote


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