Tradesmen of the world

Tradesmen around the world: Which country pays the most?

  • 23 Aug 2017

Electrical Direct offers an overview of global salaries for electricians, plumbers, carpenters and engineers, based on an infographic that examines the earning prospects for tradesmen looking to leave the UK…

It’s a good time to be a tradesman. By 2020, the global construction industry is set to be valued at an estimated US$10.3 trillion. Faster growth is anticipated in developing markets, making up 56% of the total construction output by 2020.

Tradesman around the world can take advantage of the construction industry’s rapid growth. Salaries for electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and engineers can change dramatically around the world — but which country pays the most?

UK: Electricians

By working for an employer, newly qualified electricians can earn between £19,000 and £22,000. Once qualified, the national average salary for electricians is £30,500.

Experienced, self-employed electricians can charge between £25 to £50 per hour, with top electrical engineers earning £110,000 if they were to earn the top hourly rate of £50. 


To become a qualified electrician, you’ll need to complete one of the following courses:

  • Level 3 NVQ diploma in Electrotechnical Services (Electrical Maintenance);
  • Level 3 NVQ diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems & Equipment (Buildings, Structure and the Environment);
  • Level 3 diploma in Electrical Installations (Buildings and Structures) if part of an apprenticeship.

Graduate electrical engineering jobs have a starting salary of around £26,000, however this drops to between £18,000 and £25,000 for small and medium-sized employers.

By Region

Electricians in the following areas of the UK enjoy the highest salaries:

  • London: £36,028.14;
  • Bristol: £32,669.58;
  • Portsmouth: £32,364.26;
  • Brighton: £32,058.94;
  • Glasgow: £32,058.94.

Tradesmen in the UKThe average salaries of tradesmen’s salaries within the UK are as follows: 

  • Electrician: £30,500;
  • Scaffolders: £30,136;
  • Plumbers: £28,153;
  • Tilers: £27,140;
  • Construction: £26,111;
  • Carpenters: £25,238;
  • Bricklayers: £25,047;
  • Roofers: £23,346;
  • Plasterers: £23,135;
  • Painters and Decorators: £22,816.

America: Electricians

In America, on average an electrician is paid $52, 910 (£41,481) per year, and is paid and hourly rate of $25.44. 50% of electricians earned between $37,570 (£29,454) and $65,260 (£51,163) a year. 


Depending on your education and the type of electrical work that you do, your average wage will increase. To be an electrician, you need a high school diploma first or a GED. An electrician need a foundation in Math (one year of algebra), science (physics/chemistry) and practical courses like electronics.

By Region

Tradesmen in the USAHere is how your average salary would change depending on your state: 

  • Alaska: $72,030 (£56,471);
  • New York: $70,680 (£55,413);
  • Illinois: $70,430 (£55,217);
  • Hawaii: $68,430 (£53,649);
  • New Jersey: $67,630 (£53,021);
  • North Carolina: $39,640 (£31,077).

America: Plumbers

Typically, a plumber can earn $22.43 (£17.59) per hour, or $46,660 (£36,581) per year, whilst the lower end of the spectrum can earn an annual salary of about $27,000 (£21,168). Depending on how experienced you are, this will determine the level of pay that you receive. 

For more experience plumbers, the median salary in this profession across the US is $50,620 (£39,686). However, depending on the state you are working in, you can earn more money. 


To become a successful plumber, you’ll need to take a professional qualification through a trade union or a school. These are normally four-year programs that include classroom and on-the-job training, although requirements will change from state-to-state. 

By Region

Some of the best cities in America for plumbers are as follows: 

  • Nassau, New York: $87,940 (£87,94);
  • Peabody, Massachusetts: $85,630 (£67,133);
  • Walla Walla, Washington: $83,920 (£65,793);
  • Gary, Indiana: $83,410 (£65,393);
  • Bellingham, Washington: $101,810 (£79,819).

America: Carpenters

Carpentry is set to grow by 6% by 2024, driven largely by new housing projects. The median salary for carpenters is $42,090 (£32,998). With an unemployment rate of 6.9% and 60,400 jobs available, it’s a lucrative industry to enter. 

In America, the plumber appears to have taken home the highest wage, with an annual salary of $101,810 (£80,228), based on the highest paying cities in America. General construction workers earned an average of $36,550 (£28,655), whilst carpenters earn $42,090 (£32,998) on average and electricians can earn $55,590 (£43,806) per year.


To become a carpenter in the US, being admitted to a carpentry apprenticeship is the most common first step. They will usually take 3 – 4 years to complete, and as well as classroom instruction, you will complete on the job training to gain experience within the profession.

By Region

Carpenters earn the most in the following US cities:

  • Hanford, California: $85,300 (£66,875);
  • Honolulu: $69,150 (£54,213);
  • Anchorage, Alaska: $68,820 (£53,954);
  • San Francisco: $68,310 (£53,555);
  • New York City: $67,650 (£53,037).

Australia: Electricians

In Australia, electricians earn on average $81,536 (£48,631) or $1,568 (£935) per week. The amount you can earn depends on the type of qualifications you have, what you are trained to do and where you are. The breakdown of wages by skill and region are as follows:

  • Tradesmen in AustraliaElectrician – Leading Hand: $75,000 – 90,000 (£44,733 – 53,679), Sydney, New South Wales;
  • Licensed Electrician: $35 per hour (£20.88), Sydney, New South Wales;
  • Maintenance Electrician: $40 – $45 per hour (£23.86 – 26.84), Sydney, New South Wales;
  • Electrician – Domestic and Commercial: $30 – $35 per hour (£17.89 – 20.88), Gold Coast, Queensland;
  • Industrial Electrician: $60,000 – 80,000 (£35,786 – 47715), Adelaide, South Australia;
  • Electrician/Industrial fitter: $35 – 45 per hour (£20.88 – 26.84), Melbourne, Victoria;
  • Qualified Air-Conditioning/Electrician: $30 – $35 per hour (£17.89 – 20.88), Brisbane, Queensland;
  • Solar Installer – CEC Accredited & Fully Licensed Electrician: $80,000 – $120,000 (£47,715 – 71,572), Canberra, ACT;
  • Auto Electrician: $37 – $40 per hour (£22.07 – 23.86), Perth, Western Australia.

Australia: Carpenters

On average, carpenters earn an annual income of approximately $81,536 (£48,631), or $1,568 (£935.22) per week. By improving your qualifications and deciding where in Australia you would like to be based, earnings are as follows:

  • Maintenance Carpenter: $25 per hour (£14.91), Sydney, New South Wales;
  • Qualified Cabinetmaker/Joiner/Shopfitter: $35 – 40 per hour (£20.88 – 23.86) Sydney, New South Wales;
  • Leading Hand Carpenter: $70,000 – 90,000 (£41,750 – 53,679), Sydney, New South Wales;
  • Carpenter and Joiner: $59,000 (£35,189), New South Wales;
  • Garage Door Installer/Carpenter: up to $80,000 (£47,715), Melbourne, Victoria;
  • Carpenter: $50,000 – 60,000 (£29,822 – 35,786), Melbourne, Victoria;
  • Carpenter/Cladder/Labourer: $20 –30 per hour (£11.93 – 17.89), Adelaide, South Australia;
  • Maintenance Carpenter: $35+ hour (£20.88), Brisbane, Queensland;
  • Second Fix Carpenter: $30 – 35 per hour (£17.89 – 20.88), Perth.

Australia: Plumbers

Around the country, plumbers can also make a modest living depending on their qualification status and where they are living:

  • Melbourne: $38,080 – $91,599 (£22,712 – 54633);
  • Perth: $40,904 (£24,396);
  • Brisbane: $44,746 (£26,688);
  • Gold Coast: $40,715 (£24,284);
  • Darwin: $50, 381 (£30,049).

In Australia, it is clear that a tradesmen salary is variable depending on their level of skill. In Melbourne, a plumber can earn up to $91,599 (£54,633), whereas a leading hand carpenter can earn up to $90,000 (£53,679); however, if you are an electrician that can fit solar panels – then you will be set to earn up to $120,000 (£71,572) in Canberra, making skilled electricians the highest paid tradesmen in Australia. 

Germany: Electricians

In Germany, electricians usually specialise in electrical engineering, which is where higher salaries can be found. An electrical engineer in Germany can usually earn as a median salary around €48,652 (£42,782). In order to earn between €52,000 per year (£45,727), an electrical engineer would need to have at least two years working experience or be a mid-career electrician.

In a smaller firm, this wage would decrease to €38,000 (£33,415). However, some that are qualified, and lucky, could see their wage increase to €65,000 (£57,158). You should keep in mind that this level of income would be taxed at 42 per cent for a single person. This rate of tax will decrease will decrease if you are married, or have children, or learn less than this amount. 


In Germany, qualifications are needed when it comes to working as an electrician or electrical engineer; full apprenticeship training is required, as well as up to two years’ worth of on the job experience. You will need your C&G 2391 or the 2392 to demonstrate that you can install electrical equipment safely. 

By Region

Tradesmen in GermanyIn Germany, around the country electricians can make the following wage in the following locations:

  • Munich: €52,000 (£45,727);
  • Berlin: €42,000 (£36,933);
  • Stuttgart: €49,355 (£43,401);
  • Frankfurt: €53,513 (£47,057).

Germany: Plumbers

Compared to electrical engineers, those working in plumbing could earn €35,256 (£31,002) per year. 


Germany operates their vocational training courses through a law called Berufsausbildungsgesetz, which ensures that all vocational training is the responsibility of the government, trade unions, and chambers of trade and industry. On the job experience, and an apprenticeship, is therefore vital before applying to become a plumber in Germany. 

Germany: Carpenters

Less than plumbers, carpenters in Germany can earn an average annual wage of: €29,976 (£26,359).


If you wish to become a carpenter in Germany, then you’ll need to complete a registration with the Register of Crafts and Trades to become self-employed in carpentry. If you have equivalent qualifications that are seen as acceptable, such as an apprenticeship – then your registration may be granted subject to circumstances and skill level. 

Japan: Electricians

Tradesmen in JapanIn Japan, an electrician’s average wage does not differ drastically from other parts of the world. However, there are some slight differences. The average salary for an electrician in Japan is ¥7,073,175 (£49,992).

In Tokyo, an electrician will begin on an average annual salary of ¥7,614,950 (£53,821). More senior electricians, those with more experience and qualifications, can earn significantly more. With eight years of experience, an electrician can earn an average salary of ¥11,630,646 (£82,203). 

As an electrical engineer, the national average in Japan is ¥5,000,000 (£35,450); however, in Tokyo the annual wage increases to ¥5,500,000 (£38,995).


From the breakdown of these wages, the percentage of workers with differing qualifications are as follows: 

  • 61% of workers have qualifications from high school;
  • 1% have less than high school education;
  • 16% have an associate degree;
  • 22% have a bachelor of arts degree.

Japan: Plumbers

A plumber in Japan can earn an average wage of 4,208,000 yen (£29,835).


In Japan, all plumbers are qualified to high-school level. To earn more money and become more skilled, plumbers can progress onto a specialised degree or pursue other vocational qualifications. 

By Region

Region by region, a plumber’s wage can vary depending on what are of the country they are based. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Tokyo City: ¥8,404,90 (£59,404);
  • Fukuyama: ¥5,275,817 (£37,288);
  • Yokohama: ¥7,272,025 (£51,397);
  • Hiroshima: ¥5,658,774 (£39,995).

Japan: Carpenters

A carpenter in Japan can earn an average wage of ¥3,940,000 (£27,854).


Knowledge regarding Japanese carpentry is usually passed on through one to one apprenticeship training. Usually, the apprentice seeks out training, and begins by performing menial tasks in the workshop. Once the carpenter is satisfied with the jobs that have been completed, formal training begins with rudimentary tools and basic instruction. After this, 50% of apprentices move on to complete a degree. 

By Region

In the following cities, a carpenter’s wage can change drastically if the carpenter is a supervisor; carpenter supervisors in Yokohama can earn the most money:

  • Tokyo: ¥10,962,608 (£77,482);
  • Fukuyama: ¥6,877,875 (£48,611);
  • Yokohama: ¥9,484,838 (£67,037);
  • Hiroshima: ¥7,377,485 (£52,143).

In Japan, it’s clear that electricians who are qualified to degree level, and have many years of experience in supervising a team, can earn a significantly higher annual wage than those working in plumbing and carpentry industries. However, carpenter supervisors based in Tokyo can still earn more than plumbers who are stationed in Tokyo. 

See the original infographic here

Leave a Reply

Latest news


Vent-Axia Named as Double Finalist in Electrical Wholesaler Awards

British ventilation manufacturer Vent-Axia announces it has been nominated in two categories in the prestigious Electrical Wholesaler Awards 2021.

Posted in Air Conditioning, Articles, Awards, Building Industry Events, Building Industry News, Building Services, Health & Safety, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning - HVAC, Innovations & New Products, Interiors, news

Granada Glazing

Granada’s secondary glazing insulates iconic Bristol office building

Granada Glazing design, manufacture and install bespoke aluminium secondary glazing for an original 1960s fenestration at One Redcliff Street.

Posted in Aluminium Products, Articles, Building Industry News, Building Products & Structures, Building Systems, Case Studies, Glass, Glazing, Insulation, Posts, Restoration & Refurbishment, Retrofit & Renovation, Sustainability & Energy Efficiency, Windows