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Tradesmen around the world: A closer look

7th September 2017 Print

The global construction industry is set to be valued at an estimated US$10.3 trillion by 2020, highlighting the importance of the work that tradesmen carry out across the globe. However, not all workers are paid equally for possessing the same set of skills - Electrical Direct take a closer look at how countries are paying their labourers and what qualifications are required: 


Although being an electrician involves similar daily tasks wherever you are in the world, the route to becoming qualified in the position varies from country to country. The national average salary also varies and this has been converted to Pound Sterling and displayed below:

In the UK (average salary: £30,500): 

- Level 3 National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) in Electrotechnical Services

- Level 3 NVQ in Installing Electrotechnical System and Equipment

- An NVQ in Electrical Installations is also required if the apprenticeship route is taken 

In America (average salary: £41,481): 

- A High School Diploma or General Educational Development Exam

- A Foundation in Maths, Science and a vocational course such as Electrics 

In Australia (average salary: £48,631):

- A Vocational Education and Training Course (VET) alongside an apprenticeship or traineeship. 

In Germany (average salary: £42,782):

- Full apprenticeship training

- Two years on-the-job experience

- A C&G 2391 or 2392 to prove you can install electrical equipment safely

In Japan (average salary: £49,992):

- 61% have high school qualifications

- 1% have less than high school education

- 22% have a bachelor of arts degree

Even within countries, income varies depending on the region where you are working. In the UK, you will earn highest in London with £36,028 as an electrician – however, this could be down to living costs. Similarly, in Australia, if you live in Canberra you will earn on average $22,000 (£10,665) more than an electrician living in Adelaide. 


Globally, plumbers are paid less than electricians. Qualifications are still required in most countries and often it is vocational (on-the-job) training that is most important when securing a plumbing position. Again, salaries vary depending on where in the world you are working – these have been calculated as Pound Sterling as follows:

- UK - £25,000

- America - £36,581

- Australia - £24,284 (in Melbourne, this can rise to £54,633)

- Germany - £42,782

- Japan – £29,835


To become a carpenter in any of the countries studied, on-the-job training is important. In the UK, Level 1 and 2 NVQ Certificates are required in skills such as Basic Construction, Wood Occupations and Site Carpentry. It appears that the best place to be a carpenter is in Australia, where the approximate income is $81,536 (£48,631) - £22,272 more than a qualified carpenter in Germany earns.  

As the global construction industry continues to grow, the need for skilled tradesmen is also on the rise. If you are thinking about pursuing a career in electricals, plumbing or carpentry, you now know where to move to earn the most…