Migrants in the UK labour market: An overview

Key findings

17%

of UK employees were born abroad

Night

shifts more common among migrant workers

1/3

of workers born in new EU member states work in retail and manufacturing

This briefing provides data on migrants’ labour market integration and the jobs they do in the UK labour market. It also presents data on migrants’ employment and unemployment rates, occupational status, earnings and contract types.

  • About 17% of people employed in the UK in 2018 were born abroad
  • Among men, migrants are more likely to be employed than the UK born (83% vs 79% in 2018), but among women, migrants are less likely to be in work (66% vs 72%)
  • Unemployment rates for both migrants and the UK born fell steadily from 2012 to 2018, when they stood at 3.4% for EU workers and 5.7% for non-EU workers
  • Unemployed migrants were less likely to claim unemployment benefits (18%) than UK born unemployed workers (26%)
  • Migrant workers born in India, East and Southeast Asia and EU-14 countries are more likely to be in high skilled jobs than the UK born, while those born in new EU member states are more likely to be in low skilled occupations
  • A third of workers born in new EU member states were in retail and manufacturing in 2018
  • Indian and EU-14 born workers were the broad migrant groups with the highest median earnings in 2018
  • More than half of highly-educated workers born in new EU member states (56%) were in low and medium-low skilled jobs in 2018, compared to 23% of UK born workers
  • The share of involuntary part-time workers is highest among migrants from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia (9%), compared to the UK born (3%).
  • Migrant workers were more likely to work during night shifts and in non-permanent jobs than the UK born, in 2018
Download report

Migrants in the UK labour market: An overview

Full report 1.5 MB

From our Twitter

@trustforlondon