What is a labourer?

What is a labourer?

You’re a pair of hands short on site so you decide to ring up an agency to request a ‘general labourer as soon as possible’. How much it’s going to cost you is at the forefront of your mind. So, let me start by telling you, if we ever give you a ‘flat rate’ for a labourer just laugh in our faces. The truth of the matter is labourers (much like joiners or bricklayers) come from different backgrounds, have different levels of experience and are travelling a variety of distances, therefore will never all cost the same amount of money.


Let’s briefly talk about two bricklayers applying for a job in Derby city centre. The first one, John, is 54 years’ old and has worked as a bricklayer for 34 years’, he is travelling 40 minutes to site and has five glowing references from previous employers, due to his travel and experience he is asking for £16 an hour. The second guy, Callum, is 23 years’ old and qualified as a bricklayer at college three years ago, he is 3 miles away from site and is only asking for £14 an hour but can’t provide any references. Knowing that you have to complete this job to a high standard do you take a risk on the less experienced guy to save money or do you pay a couple of quid more for someone you can guarantee gets the job done right, first time?  


Now, the point isn’t that one or the other would be better for the job. That is completely dependent on the difficulty of the work they would be required to carry out. However, I am sure you didn’t question the difference in the rates John and Callum were asking for and if you were to speak to them you would never ask John to drop his rate to the same as Callum’s. The same principle applies to labourers.


So what exactly is a labourer? Labourer is such a broad term and covers a vast amount of work. A labourer is simply classified as a construction operative that isn’t qualified as a trade person. This could be someone needed on site purely to sweep up, load the skips and keep the site tidy, it could be someone specialising in welfare maintenance (a job very few general labourers will happily volunteer for) or it could be someone hired specifically to assist a group of joiners.


You may also sometimes require a skilled labourer, this is an operative with specific experience within an area of construction. For example a bricklayer’s labourer will be expected to know how to mix up and be happy to carry bricks as well as tidying up after the person they are working with, therefore must be a highly skilled labourer.


Along with the different levels of labourers come different price brackets. Notice I say price ‘brackets’ and not just prices. Whenever a client asks us to find a temporary member of staff we will always give them a range of what we will be expecting to charge them, the reason for this being that we will talk to people with different levels of experience and travelling different distances (revert back to our previous example with John and Callum). We care equally for the happiness of our clients and candidates, meaning we want to find a cost effective solution but we also want the candidate to be happy on site. For this reason we would never expect a labourer with 20 years’ experience, that has extensive experience in assisting with concrete pours and laying slabs with groundworkers, to take the same hourly rate as an 18 year old last that has only worked in construction for 2 months.


So, if you ever need a labourer, expect us to ask you ‘what will they be expected to do on site’ and never expect us to offer you a ‘flat rate’.


If you have any more questions about what exactly a labourer can do on site or if you would like a breakdown of our price ranges please call our friendly team of professional job fillers on 01332370300. 

Posted 31st March 2017

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