The estimated number of vacancies in August to October 2023 was 957,000, a decrease of 58,000 from May to July 2023.
Vacancy numbers fell on the quarter for the 16th consecutive period in August to October 2023, down by 5.7% since May to July 2023, with vacancies falling in 16 of the 18 industry sectors.
In August to October 2023, total estimated vacancies were down by 257,000 from the level of a year ago, although they remained 156,000 above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic January to March 2020 levels.
The industry sector showing the largest annual decrease in the number of vacancies is professional, scientific, and technical activities, which fell by 35,000 from the equivalent period last year.
In August to October 2023, the estimated number of vacancies fell by 58,000 to 957,000, the 16th consecutive period to show a fall on the quarter and the lowest number of vacancies since April to June 2021.
The headline vacancy estimates are based on three-month averages, which naturally involve some time lag. Insights into trends in October 2023 are provided by two experimental sources, single-month vacancy estimates (see Section 8: Strengths and limitations from our Vacancies and jobs in the UK: March 2021 bulletin) in our Dataset X06, and Adzuna Online job advert estimates.
The estimated total number of vacancies fell by 5.7% from the previous quarter, with real estate activities and arts, entertainment and recreation contracting the most, falling by 35.0% and 19.6%, respectively.
August to October 2023 was the 16th consecutive period to show a fall on the quarter, decreasing by an estimated 58,000. The industry sector showing the largest fall in vacancy numbers was professional, scientific, and technical activities, which was down by 9,000. The current period of consecutive quarterly declines equals the period across 2008 and 2009, when the economy was affected by the financial crisis, which was previously the longest period vacancies had gone without growth.
When comparing August to October 2023 with the same time last year, total vacancies decreased by 257,000 (21.2%), with falls in 17 of the 18 industry sectors. The industry that decreased the most was professional, scientific, and technical activities, where the estimated number of vacancies fell by 35,000.
The total estimated number of vacancies remains 156,000 above January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels, with human health and social work activities showing the largest increase, at 43,000. Three industry sectors fell below pre-pandemic levels for the first time since April to June 2021. Real estate activities fell the most, by 5,000 vacancies, with other falls in information and communication, and arts, entertainment and recreation.
In August to October 2023, the ratio of vacancies per 100 employee jobs was 3.0, following a downward trend since April to June 2022, when it was at 4.1. Accommodation and food service activities currently has the highest ratio at 4.8, but follows a similar pattern, falling from 7.2 over the same period.
While all size bands fell on the quarter, the smallest size band decreased the most, falling by 11.1%.Back to table of contents
Our estimated number of workforce jobs for June 2023 (as shown in our Vacancies and jobs in the UK: September 2023 bulletin) was 36.7 million, a decrease of 153,000 jobs since March 2023. However, they remain 995,000 above their pre-coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic December 2019 levels.
The total number of jobs includes both employee jobs and self-employment jobs, with the latter causing the quarterly decrease. While employee jobs increased by 68,000 on the quarter to June 2023, self-employment jobs fell by 197,000. Subsequently, employee jobs are at a record high of 32.4 million and are 1.6 million above their December 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, self-employment jobs have not recovered and remain 651,000 below those of a pre-pandemic December 2019. The growth in the employee jobs component of workforce jobs up to June 2023 can also be seen in the number of pay-rolled employees reported in our Earnings and employment from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information, seasonally adjusted dataset, which had increased every month since February 2021.
Across industries, the recovery has varied, with 8 of the 20 the sectors still below their pre-pandemic levels in June 2023. The sectors showing the largest increases in job number were human health and social work, which was up 333,000 and professional, scientific, and technical activities, which was up 211,000. These gains were slightly offset by job losses in wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, which remain 205,000 below December 2019 levels.Back to table of contents
Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 14 November 2023
Estimates of vacancies by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).
Workforce jobs summary
Dataset JOBS01 | Released 12 September 2023
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 12 September 2023
Estimates of jobs by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).
X06: Single month vacancies estimates (not designated as National Statistics)
Dataset X06 | Released 14 November 2023
Single-month Vacancy Survey estimates, not seasonally adjusted
Positions for which employers are actively seeking recruits from outside their business or organisation are defined as vacancies in our Guide to labour market statistics. 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).
An activity performed for an employer or customer by a worker in exchange for payment, usually in cash, or in kind, or both, is defined as a job in our Guide to labour market statistics. 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.
A more detailed glossary is available.Back to table of contents
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 email@example.com.
For more information on how labour market data sources are affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, see our article published on 6 May 2020, which details some of the challenges producing estimates at this time.
An article, published by us 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 pandemic, please see our 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. Adzuna Online job advert estimates are also published as part of our Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators bulletin.
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 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).
Further information on revisions to the LFS are explained in our Impact of reweighting on Labour Force Survey key indicators article.
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.
The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level is 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. For information on coefficients and confidence intervals, see our Uncertainty and how we measure it for our surveys methodology.
The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level for a typical industrial sector is around plus or minus 6% of that level.
|SIC 2007 Section||United Kingdom|
for Jun 2023
|Sampling variability of |
|A||Agriculture, forestry & fishing||336||±61|
|B||Mining & quarrying||51||±4|
|D||Electricity, gas, steam |
& air conditioning supply
|E||Water supply, sewerage, |
waste & remediation activities
|G||Wholesale & retail trade; |
repair of motor vehicles
|H||Transport & storage||1,907||±53|
|I||Accommodation & food service activities||2,740||±66|
|J||Information & communication||1,707||±61|
|K||Financial & insurance activities||1,231||±52|
|L||Real estate activities||677||±46|
|M||Professional scientific & technical activities||3,393||±92|
|N||Administrative & support service activities||3,118||±72|
|O||Public admin & defence; compulsory social security||1,679||±21|
|Q||Human health & social work activities||4,773||±68|
|R||Arts, entertainment & recreation||1,031||±56|
|S/T||Other service activities/Private Households||963||±55|
Download this table Table 1: Sampling variability for estimates of jobs in the UK, thousands.xls .csv
Information on the strengths and limitations of this bulletin are available in our Vacancies and jobs in the UK: April 2021 bulletin.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
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