Vacancies and jobs in the UK: August 2022

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

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Release date:
16 August 2022

Next release:
13 September 2022

2. Main points

  • The number of job vacancies in May to July 2022 was 1,274,400, a decrease of 19,800 from the previous quarter and the first quarterly fall since June to August 2020.

  • With quarterly growth having slowed for 11 consecutive periods, it turned negative in May to July 2022, contracting by 1.5%.

  • In May to July 2022 vacancies were 478,800 (60.2%) above their January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level and 309,500 (32.1%) above the level of a year ago.

  • In May to July 2022, the ratio of vacancies for every 100 employee jobs fell to 4.2, the first fall since April to June 2020.

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3. Vacancies for May to July 2022

In May to July 2022 the estimated number of vacancies fell by 19,800 on the quarter to 1,274,400, bringing to an end the sequence of quarterly increases, which started in July to September 2020.

Since vacancies fell to an all-time low in April to June 2020, they have increased by 945,000 in a little over two years.

The headline vacancy estimates are based on three-month averages, which naturally involve some time lag. Insights into trends in July 2022 are provided by two experimental sources; single-month vacancy estimates (see Strengths and limitations), in Dataset X06, and Adzuna online job advert estimates. Notably, the single-month estimates in dataset X06 fell for the third consecutive month in July 2022.

Quarterly growth fell to negative 1.5% in May to July 2022 with the majority of industry sectors displaying falls; with arts, entertainment and recreation the lowest in percentage terms at negative 14.4%, followed by construction at negative 13.8%.

In May to July 2022, the decrease in the number of vacancies (19,800) was the first fall on the quarter we have seen since June to August 2020. The industry sectors displaying the largest falls in vacancy numbers were administrative and support activities, down 8,700, and construction down 6,700 on the quarter. The only industry to show a comparable gain was human health and social work, up by 9,100 to a new record of nearly 221,000 vacancies.

In May to July 2022, the total number of vacancies was 478,800 (60.2%) above the January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic level, with the largest increase in accommodation and food service activities, up nearly 88,000 (103.1%). When comparing with the same time last year, total vacancies rose by 309,500 (32.1%) with human health and social work showing the largest growth of 57,900 (35.6%).

The ratio of unemployed people to every vacancy remained at a record low of 1.0 in April to June 2022, with the number of unemployed people at a nearly identical level to the number of vacancies.

On the quarter, the companies with less than 50 employees had the greatest impact on the fall in vacancies in May to July 2022.

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4. Jobs, vacancies and wider labour market measures

Our estimated number of workforce jobs for March 2022 (next updated September 2022) was 35.6 million, and while this represents a record increase of nearly 412,000 from December 2021 there remains a deficit of 57,000 jobs from a pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic December 2019.

Notably, the quarterly rate of growth in workforce jobs increased to 1.2% in March 2022 and is the highest we have seen for 10 years.

The total number of jobs includes both employee jobs and self-employment jobs, with both rising in the quarter to March 2022. Employee jobs in March 2022 grew to a record high of 31.3 million, 521,000 above its December 2019 pre-coronavirus (COVID 19) level. However, this rate of growth was not reflected in the self-employment jobs, which remained 600,000 below December 2019 levels. The growth in the employee jobs component of workforce jobs can also be seen in the number of employees on payroll reported 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 16 August 2022
Estimates of vacancies by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

Workforce jobs summary
Dataset JOBS01 | Released 14 June 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 14 June 2022
Estimates of jobs by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

X06:Single month vacancies estimates (not designated as National Statistics)
Dataset X06 | Released 16 August 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 release.

A more detailed glossary is available.

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7. Measuring the data

Recent changes

LFS estimates published on 14 June 2022 have been reweighted for periods from January to March 2020, using updated Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) data. The non-response bias adjustment, previously implemented for England, Wales and Scotland data, has now also been applied to Northern Ireland data. Our Impact of reweighting on Labour Force Survey key indicators: 2022 article explains the impact and gives a more detailed reweighting timeline.

The Workforce Job estimates, which include some data from LFS, published on 14 June 2022 are based on previous weights. Workforce Jobs estimates will be revised on 13 September 2022.

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 coronavirus pandemic please see our article on the LFS 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. The Adzuna online job advert estimates are also published as part of the Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy release.


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 the 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 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 the Vacancy Survey QMI and Workforce jobs QMI.

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.

Occupational data in ONS surveys

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has identified an issue with the collection of some occupational data in a number of our surveys, including the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Annual Population Survey (APS), which are used in the production of the Labour Market publication. While we estimate any impacts will be small overall, this will affect the accuracy of the breakdowns of some detailed (4-digit Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) occupations, and data derived from them. Although the majority are unaffected, we are urging caution in the interpretation of these detailed data as we resolve the issue.

None of our headline statistics, other than those directly sourced from occupational data, are affected and you can continue to rely on their accuracy. This issue does not affect Census 2021 or the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey in any way. For more information, see our statement on occupational data in ONS social surveys.

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8. Strengths and limitations

Information of 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