Vacancies and jobs in the UK: January 2023

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

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Contact:
Email Tom Evans

Release date:
17 January 2023

Next release:
14 February 2023

2. Main points

  • The number of vacancies in October to December 2022 was 1,161,000, which is a decrease of 75,000 from July to September 2022.

  • Quarterly growth fell for the sixth consecutive period to negative 6.1% in October to December 2022, with vacancies falling in 14 out of 18 industry sectors.

  • In October to December 2022, total vacancies were down by 85,000 from the level of a year ago, but remained 365,000 above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) January to March 2020 levels.

  • In September to November 2022, the number of unemployed people per vacancy was at 1.0, which is up slightly from the previous quarter (June to August 2022) but remains indicative of a tight labour market.

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3. Vacancies for October to December 2022

In October to December 2022, the estimated number of vacancies fell by 75,000 on the quarter to 1,161,000, which is the sixth consecutive quarterly fall since May to July 2022.

The headline vacancy estimates are based on three-month averages, which naturally involve some time lag. Insights into trends in December 2022 are provided by two experimental sources, single-month vacancy estimates (see Strengths and limitations), in Dataset X06, and Adzuna Online job advert estimates. Both sources fell in December 2022.

The overall quarterly growth rate fell to negative 6.1% in October to December 2022, with the rate of growth falling in 14 of the 18 industry sectors. Arts, entertainment and recreation, and transport and storage were the lowest, at negative 23.3% and 15.3% respectively.

October to December 2022 was the sixth consecutive period to show a fall on the quarter, decreasing by 75,000. This is the largest quarterly fall since May to July 2020, when the labour market was shrinking because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The industry sectors displaying the largest falls in vacancy numbers were human health and social work activities, down 12,000; and wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, down by 11,000 on the quarter. Notably, the four industries that increased on the quarter provided a combined increase of fewer than 3,000 vacancies.

The fall in the number of vacancies reflects uncertainty across industries, as survey respondents continue to cite economic pressures as a factor in holding back on recruitment.

When comparing October to December 2022 with the same time last year, total vacancies decreased by 85,000 (6.8%) with falls in 10 of the 18 industry sectors. The largest fall here was in accommodation and food service activities, which was down by 25,000. However, the total number of vacancies remains 365,000 above January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels, with human health and social work activities showing the largest increase, at 69,000.

In September to November 2022 the number of unemployed people per vacancy was at 1.0, up slightly from 0.9 in the previous quarter, but still very low by historical standards.

For the fifth consecutive period there was no quarterly growth in any industry size band.

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4. Jobs, vacancies and wider labour market measures

Our estimated number of workforce jobs for September 2022 (next updated March 2023) was a record high of 36.2 million, an increase of 541,000 jobs from December 2019 following quarterly increases throughout 2021 and into 2022.

The total number of jobs includes both employee jobs and self-employment jobs, with a rise in employee jobs being slightly offset by a fall in self-employed jobs in the quarter to September 2022. Employee jobs in September 2022 have continued to grow and are now at a record high of nearly 31.9 million, 1.1 million above their December 2019 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level. However, this rate of growth has not been seen in the self-employment jobs, which remain 588,000 below December 2019 levels. The growth in the employee jobs component of workforce jobs up to September 2022 can also be seen in the number of pay rolled employees reported in the Earnings and employment from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information, seasonally adjusted dataset, which has increased every month since February 2021.

Across industries the recovery has varied, with 8 of the 20 the sectors still below their pre-coronavirus levels in September 2022. The sectors showing large numbers of job losses, wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, and construction have been offset by large gains in human health and social work; professional, scientific and technical activities; and information and communication.

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5. Vacancies and jobs data

Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 17 January 2023
Estimates of vacancies by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

Workforce jobs summary
Dataset JOBS01 | Released 13 December 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 13 December 2022
Estimates of jobs by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

X06:Single month vacancies estimates (not designated as National Statistics)
Dataset X06 | Released 17 January 2023
Single Month Vacancy Survey estimates, not seasonally adjusted

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6. Glossary

Vacancies

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).

Jobs

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 labour.market@ons.gov.uk.

Coronavirus

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

Our Comparison of labour market data sources methodology, 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 (COVID-19) pandemic, was implemented, affecting periods from January to March 2020 onwards. For more information on the changes to the LFS weighting methodology through the pandemic please see our article on the LFS weighting methodology.

Sources

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.

Vacancies

Estimates of vacancies are obtained from the Vacancy Survey, which is a survey of employers. Adzuna Online job advert estimates are also published as part of the Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators bulletin.

Jobs

Estimates of jobs are compiled from a number of sources, including Short-Term Employment Surveys (STES), the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Surveys (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 (QMI) 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 1.3% of that level expressed as a coefficient of variation, giving a 95% confidence interval for estimates of approximately plus or minus 32,000.

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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10. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 17 January 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Vacancies and jobs in the UK: January 2023.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Tom Evans
labour.market@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 1633 651833