Vacancies and jobs in the UK: November 2022

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

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Release date:
15 November 2022

Next release:
13 December 2022

2. Main points

  • The number of job vacancies in August to October 2022 was 1,225,000, which is a decrease of 46,000 from May to July 2022.

  • Quarterly growth fell for the fourth consecutive period to negative 3.6% in August to October 2022.

  • In August to October 2022, vacancies were 429,000 (54%) above the January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level but only 32,000 (2.7%) above the level of a year ago.

  • In July to September 2022, the number of unemployed people per vacancy was at 1.0, which is unchanged from the previous quarter and indicative of a tight labour market.

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3. Vacancies for August to October 2022

In August to October 2022, the estimated number of vacancies fell by 46,000 on the quarter to 1,225,000; this is the fourth 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 October 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 Dataset X06 and the online job advert estimates increased in October 2022, although both datasets should be used with caution when comparing with the headline vacancy figures, as neither are seasonally adjusted. Additionally, the vacancies recorded in Dataset X06 show estimates based on responses from businesses selected in a single month.

The overall quarterly growth rate fell to negative 3.6% in August to October 2022, with the rate of growth falling in 12 of the 18 industry sectors. Information and communication, and accommodation and food service activities were the lowest at negative 11.9% and negative 11.3%, respectively.

August to October 2022 was the fourth consecutive period to show a quarterly fall in the number of vacancies, decreasing by 46,000. The industry sectors displaying the largest falls in vacancy numbers were accommodation and food service activities, down 19,000, plus professional, scientific and technical activities, and wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, both down by 9,000 on the quarter. Education and construction had the largest increases, up by 9,000 and 5,000 on the quarter, respectively.

The continued fall in the number of vacancies has coincided with an increasing number of respondents citing economic pressures as a factor in decisions to hold back on recruitment.

In August to October 2022, the total number of vacancies was 429,000 (54%) above the January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic level, with the largest increase in human health and social work, which was up 76,000. When comparing with the same time last year, total vacancies increased by 32,000 (2.7%), with human health and social work again showing the largest growth of 21,000 (11.1%).

The number of vacancies remains high after a prolonged period of positive growth from July to September 2020 to March to May 2022, and provides the basis for a historically tight labour market. In July to September 2022, the number of unemployed people per vacancy was at 1.0, unchanged from its level in the previous quarter.

For the third 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 June 2022 (next updated December 2022) was a record high of 35.8 million, which is an increase of 171,000 jobs from December 2019 following quarterly increases throughout 2021 and into 2022. The June 2022 estimate is the first time it has exceeded pre-coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic levels.

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, which is 710,000 above their December 2019 pre-coronavirus level. However, this rate of growth has not been seen in the 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 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 half of the sectors still below their pre-pandemic levels in June 2022. The sectors showing a large number of job losses, wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicle and motorcycles, and other service activities, have been offset by large gains in administration and support activities, human health and social work, and professional, scientific and technical activities.

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5. Vacancies and jobs data

Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 15 November 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 15 November 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

Upcoming changes

In the December 2022 publication, we shall be making revisions to the Workforce Jobs (WFJ) dataset after benchmarking to the latest estimates in the provisional annual Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) 2021 figures, and revised BRES 2020 figures.

Revisions to Public Sector Employment (PSE) from March 2016, the Short-Term Employment Survey (STES) from June 2021, and seasonal adjustment from March 1981 will also be effective in next month's WFJ release.

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 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 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 COVID-19 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 article on the 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, which is 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 release.


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 collects 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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10. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 15 November 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Vacancies and jobs in the UK: November 2022

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Tom Evans
Telephone: +44 1633 651833