1. Main points
Total employment in UK outward foreign affiliates (OFATS) fell in 2019 compared with 2018; the number of employees fell by 70,900, from 3.92 million to 3.85 million (1.8% lower); this fall was mainly from the numbers of employees within administrative and support services and petroleum, chemicals, pharmaceutical, rubber and plastic products industries.
The UK outward foreign affiliates total turnover increased in 2019 compared with 2018; the total turnover value increased by £39.1 billion, from £877 billion to £916 billion (4.5% higher); manufacturing saw the largest increase in the value of total turnover, followed by financial and insurance.
The total number of enterprises increased in 2019 compared with 2018, from 36,600 to 37,000; the increase was spread across various industries, with wholesale retail seeing a larger increase over that period, while the administrative and support industry saw a particularly large decrease.
From the 2020 annual reference period onwards, the collection of OFATS data has been embedded into our annual Outward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Survey, which will increase the size of the OFATS sample (from the current sample size of 200).
2. UK outward foreign affiliate statistics data
UK outward foreign affiliate statistics (OFATS): 2019
Dataset | Released 20 May 2022
Turnover, employment and number of enterprise estimates of foreign affiliates ultimately controlled by UK companies, by country and industry.
3. Measuring the data
The main source of information for this outward foreign affiliate statistics (OFATS) release is the Office for National Statistics (ONS) annual OFATS Survey. This is combined with data from the Bank of England for all monetary financial institutions and other sources such as the Inter Departmental Business Register. Survey responses are used to impute values for every company in the OFATS population. As noted above, the ONS OFATS survey has now been embedded into the annual Outward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Survey from 2020 annual reference period onwards and that will be the main sample survey source for future OFATS results.
Coverage and sample size
The OFATS estimates published within this bulletin cover the period 2018 to 2019; the 2018 estimates are revised, and the 2019 statistics are published for the first time. Previous OFATS estimates from 2010 to 2018 can be found on the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) website.
The sample size for the OFATS survey is 200 enterprise groups.
As part of our wider FDI development plan, the OFATS survey questions have been embedded into the annual Outward FDI survey. The OFATS survey has been discontinued and companies are now asked to complete the OFATS questions on the Outward FDI Survey instead. The coverage of the Outward FDI survey is much larger than the OFATS Survey and has a greater sample size and therefore, we envisage an improvement in the quality of the statistics in future releases. We also plan to review the systems used to compile OFATS following the collection of OFATS data through the annual Outward FDI survey.Back to table of contents
Imputation methods are used to assign values for non-responders in the sample, which include either ratio of means to calculate an imputation link or median imputation. These data also undergo distance from the mean outliering treatment to minimise the impact of extreme values upon survey estimates. Ratio estimation is used to produce outward foreign affiliate statistics (OFATS) estimates for the non-sampled population. We plan to review all methods used in the production of OFATS estimates as part of the wider foreign direct investment (FDI) development.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 20 3741 1779