Vacancies and jobs in the UK: April 2022

Estimates of the number of vacancies and jobs for the UK.

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Release date:
12 April 2022

Next release:
17 May 2022

2. Main points

  • The number of job vacancies in January to March 2022 rose to a new record of 1,288,000; an increase of 492,400 from the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic level in January to March 2020.

  • In January to March 2022, the total number of vacancies increased by 50,200 from the previous quarter, with the largest increase in human health and social work, which increased by 13,100 to a new record of 215,500 vacancies.

  • The quarterly rate of growth continues to fall; in January to March 2022, it was down to 4.1% and is at its lowest since June to August 2020.

  • The ratio of vacancies to every 100 employee jobs increased slightly on the quarter to 4.2 in January to March 2022, with 8 of the 18 industry sectors displaying record high ratios

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3. Vacancies for January to March 2022

In January to March 2022, quarterly vacancy growth slowed across most industry sectors, and while it remains positive, growth fell to 4.1% from 9.8% in the previous quarter. The growth in vacancies over recent periods, alongside a reduction in the unemployment rate, has seen the ratio of unemployed people to every vacancy reach a record low of 1.0 in December 2021 to February 2022.

The headline vacancy estimates are based on three-month averages, which naturally involve some time lag. Insights into trends in March 2022 are provided by two experimental sources: single-month vacancy estimates (see the Strengths and limitations section), in Dataset X06: Single month vacancies estimates, and Adzuna Online job advert estimates. Both sources showed reduced rates of growth from the previous month.

The rate of quarterly growth varies across industries, with the fastest rates of growth seen in construction at 18.7% and arts, entertainment and recreation at 13.1%, while electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply showed the largest negative growth of 14.0%.

While the overall rate of vacancy growth has slowed for eight consecutive periods, the number of vacancies continues to increase across most industries. On the quarter, vacancies increased by 50,200, with the largest increases in human health and social work (13,100), professional, scientific and technical activities (11,500) and wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (11,300). While these industries are the biggest drivers on the quarter, it should be noted that this is the smallest quarterly volume increase since February to April 2021.

All industries were above their January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels in January to March 2022, with the largest increase in human health and social work, up by 79,200 (58.1%).

Although there is positive quarterly growth across all industry size bands in January to March 2022, the level of growth does vary, with the 1 to 9 size band having the highest growth at 9.5%.

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4. Jobs, vacancies and wider labour market measures.

Our estimated number of workforce jobs for December 2021 (next updated June 2022) was 35.2 million, down by 482,000 from a pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) December 2019. Despite the size of this deficit, it still represents a recovery, with an increase in every three-month period since December 2020 when the number was close to 1.2 million below that of a year earlier. Over the same period, vacancies increased by nearly 427,000, giving a much smaller combined fall in labour demand of 55,000.

While the number of jobs includes both employee jobs and self-employment jobs, growth over the two components varies considerably. In December 2021, employee jobs were up 204,000 from their December 2019 level, while self-employment jobs fell 687,000 over the same period. The employee jobs reflects a similar trend to the number of employees on payroll as seen in our Earnings and employment from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information, seasonally adjusted dataset.

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5. Vacancies and jobs data

Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 12 April 2022
Estimates of vacancies by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

Workforce jobs summary
Dataset JOBS01 | Released 15 March 2022
Estimates of jobs by type of job (including employee jobs, self-employment jobs, HM Forces and government-supported trainees).

Workforce jobs by industry
Dataset JOBS02 | Released 15 March 2022
Estimates of jobs by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

X06: Single month vacancies estimates (not designated as National Statistics)
Dataset X06 | Released 12 April 2022
Single-month Vacancy Survey estimates, not seasonally adjusted.

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6. Glossary


Vacancies are defined as positions for which employers are actively seeking recruits from outside their business or organisation. The estimates are based on the Vacancy Survey; this is a survey of employers designed to provide estimates of the stock of vacancies across the economy, excluding agriculture, forestry and fishing (a small sector for which the collection of estimates would not be practical).


A job is an activity performed for an employer or customer by a worker in exchange for payment, usually in cash, or in kind, or both. The number of jobs is not the same as the number of people in employment. This is because a person can have more than one job. The number of jobs is the sum of employee jobs from employer surveys, self-employment jobs from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), those in HM Forces and government-supported trainees. The number of people in employment is measured by the LFS; these estimates are available in our Employment in the UK bulletin.

A more detailed glossary is available.

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7. Measuring the data

Upcoming changes

We plan to reweight Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Annual Population Survey (APS) datasets that include data from March 2020 using Real Time Information (RTI) data. We intend to release the initial reweighted LFS estimates in the June 2022 Labour Market publication. In May 2022, we plan to publish an article with indicative estimates of the impact and a more detailed reweighting timeline.

Consultation on release practices

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has finalised its consultation on release practices. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has welcomed the findings in a statement on the ONS’s response to the OSR’s proposals, specifically noting that the release-time exemptions, which were granted during the coronavirus pandemic, are now incorporated into the revised Code of Practice. As such, the monthly Labour Market bulletin will continue to be published at 7am.

Making our published spreadsheets accessible

Following the Government Statistical Service (GSS) guidance on releasing statistics in spreadsheets we will be amending our published tables over the coming months to improve usability, accessibility and machine readability of our published statistics. To help users change to the new formats we will be publishing sample versions of a selection of our tables, and where practical, initially publish the tables in both the new and current formats. If you have any questions or comments, please email


For more information on how labour market data sources are affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, see the article published on 6 May 2020, which details some of the challenges that we have faced in producing estimates at this time.

An article, published on 11 December 2020, compares our labour market data sources and discusses some of the main differences.

Workforce Jobs estimates include data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). From 15 July 2021, an improved LFS weighting methodology, better accounting for population changes through the coronavirus pandemic was implemented, affecting periods from January to March 2020 onwards. For more information on the changes to LFS weighting methodology through the pandemic please see our article on the Labour Force Survey weighting methodology


The data in this bulletin come from surveys of businesses. It is not feasible to survey every business in the UK, so these statistics are estimates based on samples, not precise figures.


Estimates of vacancies are obtained from the Vacancy Survey, a survey of employers. Adzuna Online job advert  estimates are also published as part of our Coronavirus and the latestindicators for the UK economy bulletin.


Estimates of jobs are compiled from a number of sources, including Short-Term Employment Surveys (STES), the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (QPSES) and the Labour Force Survey (LFS). STES is a group of surveys that collect employment and turnover information from private sector businesses. In December of each year, the jobs estimates are "benchmarked" to the latest estimates from our Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES).

The STES estimates are drawn for a specified date early in the last month of each calendar quarter. The March 2020 data were from 13 March 2020 before the start of coronavirus (COVID-19) social distancing measures.

For more information on how jobs data are measured, please see the Measuring the Data section in our previous release.

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in our Vacancy Survey Quality and Methodology Information and Workforce jobs Quality and Methodology Information.

Sampling variability

The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level is around plus or minus 1.5% of that level expressed as a coefficient of variation, giving a 95% confidence interval for estimates of approximately plus or minus 20,000.

The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level, for a typical industrial sector, is around plus or minus 6% of that level.

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8. Strengths and limitations

Information on the strengths and limitations of this bulletin are available in our previous release.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Tom Evans
Telephone: +44 1633 651833