Vacancies and jobs in the UK: September 2022

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

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Contact:
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Release date:
13 September 2022

Next release:
11 October 2022

2. Main points

  • The number of job vacancies in June to August 2022 was 1,266,000, a decrease of 34,000 from the previous quarter and the largest quarterly fall since June to August 2020.

  • Quarterly growth fell for the 13th consecutive period, down to negative 2.6% in June to August 2022.

  • In June to August 2022, vacancies were 470,000 (59.1%) above the January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level, and 215,000 (20.4%) above the same time last year.

  • In May to July 2022, despite the fall in vacancies, the number of unemployed people per vacancy remains at an historical low of 1.0 for the sixth consecutive period.

  • The total number of workforce jobs in the UK in June 2022 rose by 290,000 on the quarter to a record 35.8 million and, for the first time, exceeds the pre-coronavirus level of December 2019.

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3. Vacancies for June to August 2022

In June to August 2022, the estimated number of vacancies fell by 34,000 on the quarter to 1,266,000, the largest quarterly fall for two years.

The headline vacancy estimates are based on three-month averages, which naturally involve some time lag. Insights into trends in August 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 the single month vacancy estimates in X06 and the online job advert estimates have fallen in August 2022.

The overall quarterly growth rate fell to negative 2.6% in June to August 2022, with the number of vacancies falling in 12 of the 18 industry sectors. The lowest rate of growth was in other service activities, at negative 17.8%.

In June to August 2022, the 34,000 decrease in the number of vacancies was the largest fall on the quarter we have seen since June to August 2020. The industry sectors showing the largest falls in vacancy numbers were the information and communication industry, which was down 11,000 vacancies and the professional, scientific and technical activities industry, which was down 8,000 vacancies on the quarter. Human health and social work had the largest increase in vacancies, up by 7,000 on the quarter.

This fall in vacancies, the second quarterly fall in consecutive periods, may reflect uncertainty across industries, with an increased number of respondents reporting recruitment freezes.

In June to August 2022, the total number of vacancies was 470,000 (59.1%) above the January to March 2020 pre-pandemic level, with the largest increases in accommodation and food service activities, and human health and social work, both up 83,000. When comparing with the same time last year, total vacancies rose by 215,000 (20.4%), with human health and social work showing the largest growth of 47,000 (27.4%).

Although the rapid growth in vacancies seen in the summer of 2021 has slowed significantly, the elevated numbers of vacancies, alongside low levels of unemployment, indicate a historically tight labour market. The number of unemployed people to every vacancy remained at a record low of 1.0 in May to July 2022. Although both fell, the larger fall in the number of unemployed people was enough to keep vacancies above the number of unemployed for the third consecutive period.

On the quarter, the smaller companies with fewer than 50 employees had the greatest impact on the fall in vacancies in June to August 2022.

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4. Jobs for June 2022

Figure 4 shows estimates of workforce jobs for June 2022.

The estimates are based on various sources. Estimates related to employee jobs in the private sector are drawn from surveys with a reference date of 10 June 2022, whereas those of self-employment jobs are drawn from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which covers a three-month period from start of May 2022 to end of July 2022. This is outlined in Measuring the data. On 14 June 2022, data from the LFS were reweighted. The Workforce Jobs estimates published in March 2022 were based on previous weights but are revised in this publication from March 2020.

More information is available in our Impact of reweighting on Labour Force Survey key indicators article.

In June 2022, workforce jobs rose to a new record high of 35.8 million jobs in the UK. This is an increase of 290,000 from March 2022, and was caused largely by an increase in employee jobs of 259,000, and a smaller rise in self-employment jobs of 43,000. Government support trainees was the only component to negatively affect this growth, falling by 13,000.

The June 2022 estimate is 171,000 above the December 2019 level and the first time it has exceeded pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels. This maintains a recovery that started in March 2021, when we saw the first quarterly increase, and has continued until June 2022, after a series of falls during the pandemic.

The total number of jobs includes both employee jobs and self-employment jobs, with both rising in the quarter to June 2022. Employee jobs in June 2022 have continued to grow and are now at a record high of nearly 31.5 million, 710,000 above their December 2019 pre-coronavirus level. However, this rate of growth has not been seen in self-employment jobs, which remain 548,000 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, which has increased every month since February 2021.

The effect of coronavirus on job numbers has varied across the labour market, with 10 of the 20 industry sectors still below pre-pandemic levels. The hardest hit sector, wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicle and motorcycles, saw the largest fall in job numbers at 204,000. However, large increases in other industries: administration and support activities (up 181,000), human health and social work (up 180,000), and professional, scientific and technical activities (up 146,000), have helped to increase workforce jobs above pre-pandemic levels. Notably, these three industries, alongside education, and information and communication are at record levels.

On the quarter, 15 industry sectors grew from March 2022, contributing to an increase of 290,000 to the total workforce jobs estimate. The largest increases were in administration and support activities (up 68,000) and education (up 42,000). The largest fall on the quarter was in wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, which was down by 31,000 jobs.

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5. Vacancies and jobs data

Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 13 September 2022
Estimates of vacancies by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

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

X06: Single month vacancies estimates (not designated as National Statistics)
Dataset X06 | Released 13 September 2022
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 Her Majesty's Armed 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 RTI 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 Jobs estimates published on 14 June 2022, which include some data from the LFS, were based on previous weights. The September 2022 Workforce Jobs estimates have been revised back to March 2020, because of the reweighting of the LFS using RTI data, and also through seasonal adjustment.

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.

We published our Comparison of labour market data sources article on 11 December 2020, which compares our labour market data sources and discusses some of the main differences between them.

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. This affects periods from January to March 2020 onwards. For more information on the changes to LFS weighting methodology through the pandemic, please see our LFS Survey weighting methodology article.

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, 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 and society bulletin.

Jobs

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 Vacancies and jobs in the UK: April 2021 bulletin.

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 (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 on the strengths and limitations of this bulletin are available in our Vacancies and jobs in the UK: April 2021 bulletin.

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10. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 13 September 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Vacancies and jobs in the UK: September 2022.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

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