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The construction sector is the leading industrial employer in Europe, representing 7.5% of total European employment and 28.1% of industrial employment in the European Union. The European construction sector comprises roughly 3.3 million construction firms, of which 95% have fewer than 20 workers and 93% fewer than 10. 

Approximately 15 million workers are directly employed in the European construction sector. Employment in the sector has a very powerful multiplier effect on employment as a whole; one job in the construction industry generates two new jobs in the overall economy . A strong employment policy in the construction sector therefore has a positive impact on employment in general.

Compared with other industrial activities, the construction sector is by far the most labour-intensive industry. About 50% of turnover is achieved through the labour of the workers. For this reason the work force of construction firms constitutes the main economic lever for the future survivability of the sector. Productivity in the sector largely determines the competitiveness of building enterprises.