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Where's your trade in this list of highest earners?

2-minute read

Anna Delves

Anna Delves

23 January 2019

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Roofers are the highest earning trade in the UK, according to new research.

The figures, uncovered by Simply Business, show which trades are raking in the dough, with roofers, joiners and electricians all falling in the top three – but it all depends on where you live.

Roofers living the high-life

Across the whole of the UK roofers are the highest earners, with an average turnover of £65,213. Joiners come in second at £56,386 and electricians take third place with an average £47,385.

At the other end of the spectrum, painters are the least well paid of the trades listed in the findings, with an average £28,604 annual turnover – although location matters, with painters in some regions earning more than electricians.

Average turnover by trade in the UK


Average turnover per person















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Painters in Glasgow earn more than electricians in Manchester

The research also broke down earnings by region – if you’re a roofer, painter or electrician, would you consider a move to Scotland? The highest earners in those trades are from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Glasgow roofers really come out on top, with an average £103,853 in turnover – 148 per cent more than their counterparts in Leeds.

And Glasgow is a great city for painters, where our research shows they earn more than electricians do in Manchester.

Where’s the best city for each trade?

The amount you can earn as a tradesperson really depends on where you live, so we’ve broken down the best city to work in for each individual trade:


City with the highest average turnover















60% more tradespeople earn six figures than three years ago

While different trades rank differently, tradespeople as a whole are earning far more than they did three years ago. The number of skilled workers turning over £100,000 or more has grown by more than 60 per cent since 2015.

Despite coming at the bottom of the table for average turnover per person, painters achieved the biggest income growth. The number of painters with £100,000 or more in turnover has increased by 88 per cent since 2015.

Tradespeople thriving despite skills shortage

Alan Thomas, Chief Commercial Officer at Simply Business, comments: “Tradespeople are crucial to the UK economy, and we’re delighted to see so many of them thriving across a variety of skilled trades.

“From carpenters in Sheffield, to electricians in Edinburgh, there’s been a real focus in recent years on the skills shortage throughout Britain, and it’s incumbent on all of us to continue supporting such an important cross-section of the UK workforce.

“At Simply Business, we couldn’t be prouder to be protecting the people building the UK’s future with tailored, flexible business insurance, and we hope to see the construction industry continue to thrive in the years to come.”

Insure your trades business

Simply Business insures all kinds of trades. Popular covers include:

Is your profession not listed? When you run a quote, you can select your trade from over 1,000 options.

Does the research ring true to you? Let us know in the comments below.

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Anna Delves

Written by

Anna Delves

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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