Vacancies and jobs in the UK: May 2022

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

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Contact:
Email Tom Evans

Release date:
17 May 2022

Next release:
14 June 2022

2. Main points

  • The number of job vacancies in February to April 2022 rose to a new record of 1,295,000; an increase of 33,700 from the previous quarter and an increase of 499,300 from the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic level in January to March 2020.

  • In February to April 2022 the quarterly rate of growth fell for the ninth consecutive period; but remains positive at 2.7%.

  • In January to March 2022 the ratio of unemployed people to every vacancy remained at 1.0 however, for the first time, the number of vacancies was larger than the number of people unemployed.

  • The ratio of vacancies to every 100 employee jobs reached a further record high of 4.3 in February to April 2022, with 11 of the 18 industry sectors displaying record high ratios.

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3. Vacancies for February to April 2022

In February to April 2022 quarterly vacancy growth fell to 2.7% from 5.8% last quarter. Despite the quarterly growth rate decreasing for 9 consecutive periods, it remains positive and displays the most sustained period of positive growth since the end of 2015.

The headline vacancy estimates are based on three-month averages, which naturally involve some time lag. Insights into trends in April 2022 are provided by two experimental sources, single-month vacancy estimates (see Strengths and limitations), in Dataset x06, and Adzuna Online job advert estimates. This month the single-month estimates are also at a record high for April 2022, although this should be interpreted with caution as the series is not seasonally adjusted.

The rate of quarterly growth varies across industry sectors, with the fastest rates of quarterly growth seen in arts, entertainment and recreation at 33.0% and construction at 28.1%, while transport and storage displayed the largest negative growth or 8.7%.

Despite the quarterly rate of vacancy growth slowing down, the number of vacancies continues to rise with 14 of the 18 industry sectors increasing their number of vacancies in the latest three-month period. On the quarter, vacancies increased by 33,700 with the largest increases in construction (10,700) and arts, entertainment and recreation (9,300).

February to April 2022 saw all industries above their January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels, with the largest increase in accommodation and food service activities up 85,500 (100.6%).

In January to March 2022 the ratio of unemployed people to every vacancy remained at 1.0. However, for the first time, the number of vacancies was larger than the number of people unemployed, following continued vacancy growth and declining unemployment.

In February to April 2022 the rate of quarterly growth varied across company size bands, with the largest size band having the highest growth of 5.5%. However, it is also notable that the fall seen in the 10 to 49 size bracket is the first time we have seen negative quarterly growth in any size band since February to April 2021.

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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 before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in December 2019. Despite the size of this deficit, it still represents a recovery, with an increase in every quarter 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 the 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 17 May 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 17 May 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 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

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. On 23 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 has finalised its consultation on release practices. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has welcomed the findings, specifically noting that the release-time exemptions, which were granted during the coronavirus (COVID-19) 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 labour.market@ons.gov.uk.

Coronavirus

For more information on how labour market data sources are affected by the coronavirus 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 2020 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

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. Adzuna Online job advert estimates are also published as part of the Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy release.

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