In the money! The best paid trades in the UK tradesman working graphic

In the money! The best paid trades in the UK

Wondering which trade to enter? Before you choose your apprenticeship or training course, find out more about the best paid trades jobs in the UK.

Whether it’s fixing a leak or helping to construct a new build, businesses as well as individuals will always need help from the skilled trades. If you’re interested in working in one of the trades then the next question you might ask is, ‘Which are the best paid trades?’

Here we take a look. Read on to find out which is the best paid trade.

The best paid trades in the UK

Plumbers, carpenters, brickies or tilers - which of the UK trades earns the most?

According to the Office of National Statistics, it is electricians that bring home the most generous pay packet each month, bringing in around £30k annually in 2015.

Electrical apprentices, get paid the minimum wage for their age while they are undertaking their programme, however, once qualified they can earn £21k as an electrician’s mate, or up to £11 per hour.

For the most part, skilled tradesmen usually charge an hourly or day rate, which varies significantly depending on location.

At the other end of the scale are painters, who bring in around £22k per year on average.

The best paid trade jobs require the highest level of skill, but perhaps also carry a higher degree of risk to warrant the difference in salary.

Which trade is right for me?

But as we know, money isn’t everything.

If you’re asking yourself, ‘Which trade is right for me?’ then there are several criteria you’ll want to reflect on, the first being your own personal interests. Does one trade appeal to you more than another? Perhaps you are interested in creating structures for people to live in more than you are fixing burst pipes.

On the other hand, perhaps coming to the rescue in a burst pipe scenario is more appealing than the hard physical graft of bricklaying.

Ask yourself where your skills lie, which role would suit your personality, and where in the country offers you the best chance of finding work in the trade that most interests you.

Before pursuing any kind of trade direction, a good place to start is to weigh up the pros and cons of each and see where that takes you.

Which apprenticeship is right for me?

Once you’ve decided on a direction, the next step is to get trained up.

To do this, search for apprenticeships training providers in your chosen field and location and have a look at the differences between course types, rather than simply picking an apprenticeship that happens to be in your preferred trade.

Can I make good money even if I’m not in one of the best paid industries? 

Even if you decide not to work in the best-paid industry you can still make a solid living working in another trade.

Moving into management

Typically your salary increases the more experience you accrue, although there are some areas in the UK where your salary will plateau, regardless of the amount of experience you have.

While having a variety of skills allows you to pick and choose from the available work, becoming a specialist means that usually you can charge more because your unique skill set is less easy to come by.

You might also consider moving into a more senior position or pursuing a management pathway, which offers you more control, but more responsibility too. 

Starting your own trades business

One of the most effective ways to have control over how much you earn is to work for yourself.

If you’re self-employed you can decide what you’re willing to invest in and how best to orchestrate your business.

Often when you’re starting out you might pay yourself very little while you build up a customer base, buy the tools of the trade and so on. But as your business grows and develops, you may be able to be a little more generous with your own salary.

The pay off

The best way to ensure you earn the salary you are after – in any trade – is to make sure you are equipped with the training, skills and experience that puts you in a competitive position to command it.

Remember, if you do decide to start your own business, you’ll need insurance to protect your hard work should something go wrong.

Public liability insurance will cover you against the work that you do on site against claims made by a third party for personal injury or property damage.

Having the right insurance in place is a great way to make sure you get to keep more of your hard-earned cash, should you find yourself in a position when you’ll need to claim.

Read more Tools of the Trade

Thinking of starting an apprenticeship? 

How do apprenticeships differ around the UK?

What should you do after a trade apprenticeship?

Experiences of young workers in the construction industry: 

Why should you become an apprentice Gas Engineer? 

Why should you become an apprentice Electrician?

Why should you become an apprentice Plumber?

Looking to take the next step in your career? 

How to get your dream job

How to build a prize winning skill set

Construction computing: why builders need digital skills

How to start a small business: your 7 step guide 

How to win contracts: Your small business guide 

What is public liability insurance?


Last Updated: 05 Aug 2016