The Office of National Statistics has released a paper based on Labour Force Survey data that estimates the number of foreign workers employed in the UK and makes a stab at how many work in various industry sectors, including construction.
Leaving aside the assumptions and definitions the figures work out roughly as such
- 29,438,000 people employed in the UK economy
- 25,755,000 were born in the UK
- 3,682,000 were not born in the UK
Of those not born in the UK:
- 696,000 were born in the EU14 area, the EU minus the UK and the 2004 accession counties
- 510,000 were born in the A8, the accession countries (ONS left out Cyprus and Malta)
- 2,475,000 were born in the rest of the world
From the LFS data it is estimated that 12% of the A8 employed work in construction and 4% of the rest of the non-UK born employed.
So from this we can roughly calculate the number of non-UK born employed people working in construction.
For the A8 it is between 11.5% and 12.5% of 510,000.
And for the rest of the non-UK born it is between 3.5% and 4.5% of 3,682,000-510,000.
Multiply and add it all up and we have a range of between 170,000 and 206,000.
Given that there are about 2.2 million people employed in construction, that equates in broad terms to a shade under 1 in 10 workers in construction are foreign.
Assuming I did my maths correctly, does that feel right? To me it seems a bit light.