In our series of State of the Trade reports, we explore the findings from +1100 gas and heating engineers from across the UK who took part in our 16th 2019 Survey. Got some questions about how the plumbing and heating trade is performing? Find out here…

What has been the change in labour rate in the past 12 months and optimism for the next 12 months?

Here we’re going to investigate the Survey responses about changes in labour rates and give you some insights – how’s your business performing in comparison?

We asked respondents how much their labour rate has changed in the last 12 months and how they expect it to progress in the next 12 months, and we uncovered very similar trends to last year showing that the industry remains steady despite the economic climate.  

More than half of respondents reported no change in labour rate in 2019 and this number was marginally higher than in 2018. Nearly a quarter of engineers said their labour rate had risen by less than 10% and some had experienced a rise of 10-25%, but both these figures are slightly down on 2018. Those experiencing declining labour rates were a minority but 3% had noticed up to a 25% fall and this figure is marginally higher than last year.  

The 2019 Survey highlighted concerns about Brexit. This was a running theme in both the 2017 and 2018 State of the Trade Reports, and little has changed. A large number of recipients raised concerns about confidence in the country’s economy and the rising cost of materials.

However, this lack of optimism wasn’t reflected in the results for how respondents expected their labour rate to change in the next 12 months. More than half predicted that their rate of labour would rise by up to 25% and 45.3% of engineers felt that their labour rate would remain the same in the next year.

In summary, the figures for labour rates in the State of the Trade Survey 2019 evidence continued confidence within the plumbing and heating trade. However, there are a few anomalies that may be indicators of a slight downturn as a result of the UK’s impending departure from the EU and the uncertain economic climate.