Construction workers saw their wages soar above the national average towards the end of last year, new figures from a leading industry body have revealed.

According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), employees in the sector enjoyed a 6% rise in earnings.

It compares to average wage increases of just 2% across the rest of the country.

RICS believes one of the factors driving construction wage rises could be a lack of skilled workers in the industry.

In the group’s UK Construction Market Survey for Q4 2015, it reported that 66% of construction professionals said that skills shortages had acted as a check on growth between October and December 2015.

Among the most sought-after members of staff in the period were bricklayers and quantity surveyors.

In the poll, 62% and 60% of respondents said they had encountered difficulties hiring these workers, respectively.

The shortage meant that the majority of construction professionals - 61% - saw an increase in their earnings during Q4.

In addition, the RICS survey found that optimism in the sector remains high, even though there were also concerns around financing.

Just under half of respondents - 45% - said they were hopeful of seeing an increase in profits over 2016.

This is despite the fact that many reported feeling the bite from financial constraints.

In further positive news, around a third of participants in the survey had seen a rise in their workloads, with the private commercial and private housing sectors both performing well.