Where Are the World’s Best-Paid Construction Workers?

Tax refund experts, RIFT Tax Refunds, have researched construction workers’ salaries and tax rates in 12 major world nations, discovering that UK workers are only the fourth-best paid.

Australian construction workers enjoy the largest annual net income of all 12 nations. Their average gross salary is AU$69,367, and the average income tax rate is 22.3%, meaning that their tax bill, including social contributions, is estimated to be AU$15,479 per year, leaving a net salary of AU$53,888, equivalent to £30,727.

In the US, construction workers are paid an average gross salary of $46,970 and charged an average tax rate of 16.2%, which, when also accounting for social contributions, works out at $7,596, leaving a net income of $39,374 or £29,942.

In Ireland, construction workers are paid €44,541 and taxed at 23.3%. This leaves them with a net income of €34,167 or £28,843. Despite the shortage of labour and Britain’s insatiable appetite for building, the UK only ranks fourth. UK construction workers are paid an average of £32,550 and £25,798 after accounting for tax.

After paying a tax rate of 19.8%, construction workers in New Zealand take home £25,558, while in Canada, they take home £25,070 after paying 23.5%. Workers in UAE do not pay any tax or social contributions at all, keeping all of their 118,035 dirham salary, equivalent to £24,437, out-earning German workers who pay 29.4% tax – the highest rate among the countries studied – and take home £23,839. France (£23,246), Italy (£18,192), Spain (£16,991) and China (£7,986) rank amongst the worst paid nations when it comes to the net annual income of construction workers.

CEO of RIFT Tax Refunds, Bradley Post, commented: ‘The UK’s housing shortage is just one factor that has kept the construction sector extremely busy, particularly during the pandemic. But despite a sheer shortage of labour, UK construction workers rank just fourth on the list, with Ireland, the US and Australia all offering a more profitable path within construction.’

‘However, construction workers are often among those most likely to be owed a tax refund by the government, largely because they tend to move between multiple places of work and incur travel and living costs.’

‘Our figures show that the average annual tax refund for construction workers sits at £1,031, which would reduce their effective rate of tax to just 16%. However, with the ability to backtrack claims over four years, this could fall as low as 5% for those submitting the first-time claim, and so this would undoubtedly see them move up the list when it comes to earning potential.’

Data Tables

Construction salary data sourced from Salary Expert

Tax paid sourced via World Tax Calculator

Coverage Briefing