Vacancies and jobs in the UK: September 2019

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

This is not the latest release. View latest release

This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
Email Mark Williams

Release date:
10 September 2019

Next release:
15 October 2019

1. Other pages in this release

Other commentary from the latest labour market data can be found on the following pages:

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2. Main points

  • While the number of vacancies has been generally increasing since 2012, it has been falling since early 2019.

  • For June to August 2019, there were an estimated 812,000 vacancies in the UK, 23,000 fewer than for the three months to May 2019 (this is the seventh consecutive fall on the previous three months) and 33,000 fewer than a year earlier (this is the third consecutive annual fall).

  • There were an estimated 138,000 vacancies in the human health and social work sector in June to August 2019; this accounted for 17.0% of all vacancies in the UK.

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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.

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3. Analysis of vacancies and jobs

Vacancies

The estimated number of vacancies in the UK fell sharply during the recession of 2008 to 2009. Since 2012, it has generally increased although it has been falling since early 2019. For June to August 2019, there were an estimated 812,000 vacancies in the UK, 23,000 fewer than for the previous quarter (March to May 2019) and 33,000 fewer than for the previous year.

For June to August 2019 it is estimated that:

  • there were 138,000 vacancies in the human health and social work activities sector; this accounted for 17.0% of all vacancies in the UK

  • there were 2.7 job vacancies per 100 employee jobs across the economy as a whole

  • the sector showing the highest vacancy rate was accommodation and food service activities (4.0 vacancies per 100 employee jobs)

  • the sector showing the lowest vacancy rate was construction (1.5 job vacancies per 100 employee jobs)

Jobs

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. Estimates for the number of people in employment are available in Employment in the UK.

The number of jobs has been generally increasing since 2013.

Between March 2019 and June 2019, the total number of jobs in the UK increased by 114,000 to reach an estimated 35.67 million.

Between June 2018 and June 2019, the total number of jobs in the UK increased by 640,000.

The jobs estimates will next be updated on 17 December 2019.

The sector showing the largest estimated quarterly increase in jobs was human health and social work activities (up 42,000 on the quarter).

The sector showing the largest estimated annual increase in jobs was professional, scientific and technical activities (up 183,000 on the year).

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4. Vacancies and jobs data

Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 10 September 2019
Estimates of vacancies by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

Workforce jobs summary
Dataset JOBS01 | Released 10 September 2019
Estimates of jobs by type of job (employee jobs, self-employment jobs, HM Forces and government-supported trainees).

Workforce jobs by industry
Dataset JOBS02 | Released 10 September 2019
Estimates of jobs by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

More detailed sampling variability information for estimates of jobs is available from Dataset JOBS07.

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5. Glossary

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, those in HM Forces and government-supported trainees. The number of people in employment is measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS); these estimates are available in our Employment in the UK release.

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 – a survey of businesses 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 more detailed Glossary is available.

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6. Measuring the data

Estimates of jobs are compiled from a number of sources, including Short Term Employer 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.

Estimates of vacancies are obtained from the Vacancy Survey, a survey of employers.

The Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) reports for jobs and vacancies pull together important qualitative information on the various dimensions of data quality, as well as providing a summary of methods used to compile the output.

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7. Strengths and limitations

Re-assessment of labour market estimates

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has a planned reassessment of labour market employment estimates, which aims to publish a set of recommendations in early 2020. As part of this assessment, the OSR may contact you to:

  • gather feedback on your use of labour market estimates

  • listen to your suggestions on ways we can build on our current engagement opportunities

  • capture examples of where we have worked (or are working) together to improve communication and use of our statistics

The three sections of the recommendations report will cover trustworthiness, quality and value. The OSR will coordinate engagement with yourselves but please feel free to contact David Freeman (david.freeman@ons.gov.uk) or Matt Hughes (matthew.hughes@ons.gov.uk) if you wish to discuss further.

Accuracy of the statistics: estimating and reporting uncertainty

The figures in this bulletin mainly come from surveys of businesses, which gather information from a sample rather than from the whole population. The samples are designed to be as accurate as possible given practical limitations such as time and cost constraints. Results from sample surveys are always estimates, not precise figures. This can have an impact on how changes in the estimates should be interpreted, especially for short-term comparisons.

As the number of people available in the sample gets smaller, the variability of the estimates that we can make from that sample size gets larger. Estimates for small groups (for example, vacancies in the construction industry), which are based on quite small subsets of the Vacancy Survey sample, are less reliable and tend to be more volatile than for larger aggregated groups (for example, total vacancies in the UK).

In general, short-term changes in the growth rates reported in this bulletin are not usually greater than the level that can be explained by sampling variability. Short-term movements in reported rates should be considered alongside longer-term patterns in the series and corresponding movements in other sources to give a fuller picture.

Further information is available in A guide to labour market statistics.

Sampling variability information for jobs is available in Table 1 in this bulletin and in Dataset JOBS07.

The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level is around plus or minus 1.5% of that level.

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8. You might also be interested in

Labour market economic commentary
Article | Released 10 September 2019
Additional economic analysis of the latest UK labour market headline statistics and long-term trends.

UK Business Register and Employment Survey
Bulletin | Released 27 September 2018
Estimates of employee and employment estimates by detailed geography and industry.

Public sector employment
Bulletin | Released 10 September 2019
Estimates of people employed in the public and private sectors in the UK.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Mark Williams
labour.market@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456728