• measures the number of vacancies that are actively seeking recruits from outside organisations

  • questionnaires are sent to a sample of approximately 6,000 businesses every month

  • adopted as a National Statistic in June 2003

  • uses the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) as the sampling frame

  • historic data available on a monthly basis from June 2001

The Vacancy Survey (VS) is a statutory, monthly survey of businesses. The survey asks a single question: how many job vacancies did a business have in total (on a specified date) for which they were actively seeking recruits from outside their organisation. Results from the survey cover all sectors of the UK economy and all industries, with the exception of employment agencies and agriculture, forestry and fishing. The headline series are based on 3 month moving averages, by type of industry and by employment count. Vacancy statistics are not available by region.

The Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) is used as the sampling frame. The total sample is approximately 6,000 businesses per month, with approximately 1,300 large businesses included every month and the remaining 4,700 consisting of smaller enterprises randomly sampled on a quarterly basis.

Vacancy statistics are published in the Labour Market statistical bulletin, usually within 6 weeks of the reference date of the survey. Short term statistics provide important information about the demand for labour and can provide an early indication of what is happening in the labour market. They are used for monitoring and policy making purposes by UK government departments and Eurostat. They are also used by businesses and analysts to gauge the strength of the labour market.

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