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Trades salaries in the spotlight

Trades salaries in the spotlight


01 Jan, 2018

Electricians’ salaries remain the highest in the building trades. Training provider Trade Skills 4U has some advice on how you too can join their well-paid ranks

The latest electricians’ salaries results are in! In 2016, the average UK electrician’s salary was £30,765, while the 2017 results show that there has been a slight increase of 0.1%, with the average electrician earning £30,784.

Salary ranges depend on a number of factors, such as experience, location, qualifications, professional credentials (NVQ and ECS card level), employer and job responsibility. The starting salary for an entry-level electrician will inevitably be lower, but will rise once they have gained the relevant electrical NVQs and experience.

Other trades’ salaries have increased across the board too, with roofers showing the biggest increase (5.8%), followed by plumbers at 4.4%, however electricians still earn nearly £1,000 more than any other trade, on average.

Hourly rates/day rates

Obtaining accurate data is a challenge as many electricians are either self-employed or contracting. Most self-employed electricians generally charge a day rate, an hourly rate or fixed rate for individual jobs, therefore their earnings tend to fluctuate year on year, because work is not guaranteed. That’s why it’s difficult to gauge exactly how much they earn as there are no statistics available on a national level. However, depending on where you are based in the country, on average it appears that an experienced electrician working in the south-east charges around £45 per hour, or £350 per day.
While self-employed electricians tend to earn more than those who are employed, they have other costs to take into account, such as the cost of tools, van, costs of quoting and business insurance, as well as registration on a competent persons scheme.

How realistic is it to earn over £30K as an electrician?

While salaries represent what you can earn when employed by a company the amounts earned as a contractor tend to be more realistic. An experienced self-employed electrician should be earning on average above £30K per year, but our research suggests that earnings are more likely to be around £35–40K per year, and higher if working in London and the south-east.

Ways to earn more

As with any career, the better you are at your job the more you can earn. There are a number of ways you can increase your earnings, which really come down to how much effort you are prepared to put in.

  • Overtime: this is a great way to increase your earnings, especially as overtime is often paid at a higher hourly rate.
  • Agency work: if you are starting out, working for an agency will allow you to gain the confidence and experience to go on to apply for contracts direct.
  • Up-skilling: taking further training to improving your grade could increase your earning potential; courses to consider are the C&G 2394/95 Inspection and Testing courses (for Approved Electrician status) and the C&G 2396 Electrical Design course (for Site Technician status).
  • Going self-employed: you will be able to earn a much higher wage once you’ve set up on your own.

What are trainees’ salaries like?

An option many of the clients of Trade Skills 4U choose is to front-load their training and complete their technical certificates first (C&G2365 levels 2 and 3). This allows those entering the market as electricians’ mates to earn between £21,000 and 25,000 per year (this is a guide only and will vary depending on employer, location and type of job).
A great way to increase your earnings potential is to get plenty of on-the-job experience, build a good reputation, work hard and improve your knowledge through further training. These courses will help you to qualify for higher pay grades:
1.    Trainee Electrician – apprenticeship or electricians’ mate usually with C&G 2365 Diplomas
2.    Electrician – relevant qualifications, level 3 NVQ and AM2 (these days, a 2357)
3.    Approved Electrician – as for 2 above, plus periodic inspection and testing qualification such as C&G 2394/2395
4.    Site Technician – as per 3 above plus five-plus years’ experience (three in a supervisory role) plus a level 4 qualification such as an HNC.
We believe that if you are prepared to put in the hours to build your business and work hard there is no limit to what you could potentially earn.
Trade Skills 4U has a long affinity with the Armed Forces, with many Service leavers choosing us for their training. We are ELC registered so you can use your ELC for any of our resettlement courses.

For details of our full range of electrical courses, speak to our course advisers on 01293 527999 or visit

To find out more about building trades careers take a look at our feature at