Vacancies and jobs in the UK: February 2022

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

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Release date:
15 February 2022

Next release:
15 March 2022

2. Main points

  • November 2021 to January 2022 saw the number of vacancies reach another record high of 1,298,400, though the rate of growth continues to slow.

  • In November 2021 to January 2022, the total number of vacancies increased by 113,600 on the quarter with the largest increase of vacancies seen in accommodation and food service activities, which was up 21,400 to a new record of 178,300 vacancies.

  • In November 2021 to January 2022 the rate of growth was 9.6%, the lowest since February to April 2021, and down from 24.7% in the previous quarter.

  • The ratio of vacancies to every 100 employee jobs continued to rise, reaching a record high of 4.3 in November 2021 to January 2022, with the majority of industry sectors displaying record high ratios.

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3. Vacancies for November 2021 to January 2022

November 2021 to January 2022 saw the rate of growth slowing down in all industry sectors, and for the first time since December 2020 to February 2021 the number of unemployed people per vacancy has not fallen, remaining unchanged at 1.1 for October to December 2021.

The headline vacancy estimates are based on three-month averages, which naturally involve some time lag. Insights into trends in January 2022 are provided by two experimental sources, single-month vacancy estimates (see Strengths and limitations, in Dataset x06, and Adzuna Online job advert estimates. The single-month vacancy estimate for January 2022 displays an increase after two consecutive monthly falls, while the Adzuna data shows a strengthening of vacancies in the latter part of January. Both sources are still below levels seen in late 2021, though both datasets should be interpreted with caution as they are experimental and non-seasonally adjusted.

In November 2021 to January 2022 the quarterly growth rate fell to 9.6% with all industry categories displaying a slowdown. The rate of this slowdown varies across business sectors, as is seen in the two industries with the highest quarterly growth rates, education at 17.3%, and transport and storage at 17.1%. Both fell from last quarter when they displayed 19.3% and 43.4%, respectively.

While growth slowed, the number of vacancies continued to rise across most industries, with 10 of the 18 categories displaying record highs. The largest quarterly increase in vacancy numbers was in accommodation and food service activities, which grew by 21,400 (13.6%). The other large increase was in wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, which was up 19,900 (13.2%).

In November 2021 to January 2022 vacancies increased by 513,700 (65.5%) from January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels, with the largest increase in accommodation and food service activities up by 94,100 (111.8%).

The current ratio of 4.3 vacancies to 100 employee jobs is a new record, with 10 of the 18 industry groups displaying record high ratios with accommodation and food service activities the highest at 7.9.

The record high number of vacancies is mirrored across all size bands, and after continued quarterly growth from March to May 2021 all are at record high levels in November 2021 to January 2022.

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4. Jobs, vacancies and wider labour market measures

Our estimated number of workforce jobs  grew for the third consecutive quarter in September 2021 (next updated March 2022) to 35.1 million, although it remained 525,000 below its pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic December 2019 figure. Over the same period vacancies increased by nearly 316,000, giving a combined fall in labour demand of 209,000. Despite this fall in labour demand, in the period July to September 2021 there was a quarterly increase in the employment rate, also reflected by HM Revenue and Customs earnings and employment from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information on the number of payrolled employees.

The recovery in workforce jobs varies considerably across its two major components. While there was an overall increase of 147,000 in September 2021 from June 2021, with employee jobs increasing by 269,000, this was offset by a fall in self-employment jobs of 125,000.

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5. Vacancies and jobs data

Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 15 February 2022
Estimates of vacancies by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

Workforce jobs summary
Dataset JOBS01 | Released 14 December 2021
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 December 2021
Estimates of jobs by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

X06:Single month vacancies estimates (not designated as National Statistics)
Dataset X06 | Released 15 February 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

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.

Impact on production of vacancy and workforce job estimates

Because of social distancing measures leading to the temporary closure of businesses across the UK, there have been some difficulties in collecting data using the Vacancy Survey and the Short-Term Employment Surveys.

Survey response rates were lower than is typical. To protect the quality of our output, we have used alternative sources where possible to inform data. We have used Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) section-level indications from the Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS), as well as survey contributor-level comments provided to us over the telephone or electronically, as a guide on whether businesses are operational and likely, or not, to be actively recruiting and to confirm employment figures.


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 the Coronavirus and the latestindicators 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 (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 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.

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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