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Guide to Vacancies

Released: 14 November 2012 Download PDF

Abstract

The ONS Vacancy Survey provides comprehensive estimates of the number of job vacancies across the UK economy. This monthly survey asks employers how many job vacancies they have in total for which they are actively seeking recruits from outside their organisation, for example, by advertising or interviewing.The survey began in April 2001 and the results became National Statistics in June 2003. The results are published in the Labour Market Statistical Bulletin. The headline series are seasonally adjusted three-month rolling averages. Analysis is available by industry and by size of enterprise. Analysis is available by industry and by size of enterprise, but no regional analysis is available.

More detail

The ONS Vacancy Survey (111.9 Kb Pdf) provides comprehensive estimates of the number of job vacancies across the UK economy. This monthly survey asks employers how many job vacancies they have in total for which they are actively seeking recruits from outside their organisation, for example, by advertising or interviewing.The survey began in April 2001 and the results became National Statistics in June 2003. The results are published in the Labour Market Statistical Bulletin. The headline series are seasonally adjusted three-month rolling averages. Analysis is available by industry and by size of enterprise. Analysis is available by industry and by size of enterprise, but no regional analysis is available.

Approximately 6,000 enterprises in Great Britain are surveyed on a specific date each month. Employers are asked to return just one number by telephone data entry using their keypad. In common with the majority of ONS business surveys, the sample is obtained from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR), stratified by industry and number of people employed.

One quarter of the sample consists of large businesses or organisations that are included every month. The remaining 4,500 are smaller and are sampled randomly on a quarterly basis. Smaller businesses remain in the survey for five or nine quarters (depending on the size of the business).

The survey covers all industrial sectors except agriculture, forestry and fishing. This is because of the disproportionate additional costs involved and the difficulties of measuring vacancies in these industry sectors, which mainly consist of very small firms (mostly with no vacancies). It is common practice to exclude these sectors from vacancy surveys in other countries. The UK approach is consistent with EU requirements.

Completion of the survey is compulsory under the Statistics of Trade Act 1947. The survey covers businesses in Great Britain only, although estimates for the UK are derived by grossing up the data for Great Britain, along with information about employment in Northern Ireland businesses. Businesses in Northern Ireland are not surveyed because of the risk of overlap with responses to other surveys conducted by Northern Ireland departments.

Background notes

  1. Enquiries relating to labour market statistics should be directed to Richard Clegg, Labour Market Division, Office for National Statistics.

    Phone +44 (0)1633 455400

    Email labour.market@ons.gsi.gov.uk

  2. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Supporting information

Further information

Interpreting Labour Market Statistics - The purpose of this article is to help users of labour market statistics interpret the statistics and highlight some common misunderstandings.
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