Where are the world’s best paid construction workers?

By Andy Brown18 July 2022

Wages are rising for many in construction as the skills shortage makes existing workers more valuable

The cities in which construction workers can expect to receive the highest pay have been revealed in Turner & Townsend’s International Construction Market Survey.

The report found that the top two spots were both in Switzerland, with Geneva offering an average hourly salary of US$118 followed by Zurich with US$117.

The third, fourth and fifth cities on the list were all in the US: San Francisco offers the third best rate at US$116 followed by New York at US$114 and Boston with US$110.

The report said that, regarding wages, some regions were seeing “substantial growth compared with pre-pandemic levels” due to “worsening skills shortages in the construction sector.”

Europe had the largest increase in construction wages since 2021, with average labour costs increasing by 22.4% to US$65 in 2022. Australia and New Zealand recorded an increase of 6.5% over the last 12 months and the Middle East increased by 6.1% since 2021 to US$7. 

North America currently has the highest average labour cost at US$68 but has shown little movement from 2021. Construction wages in North America are likely to increase over the next 12 months, due to worsening skills shortages across the country.

The report added that, “Asia and Africa both recorded a fall in average construction labour costs from 2021 to 2022. While nearly all markets in Asia recorded an increase over the last 12 months, the addition of several lower-income markets in this year’s survey has brought down the average for the region. Africa, on the other hand, has experienced considerable market challenges following the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in lower levels of construction and a surplus of labour.”

Five best paid cities for construction workers

1. Geneva, Switzerland

2. Zurich, Switzerland

3. San Francisco, US

4. New York, US

5. Boston, US 

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