Vacancies and jobs in the UK: December 2022

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

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Email Tom Evans

Dyddiad y datganiad:
13 December 2022

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
17 January 2023

2. Main points

  • The number of job vacancies in September to November 2022 was 1,187,000, which is a decrease of 65,000 from June to August 2022.

  • Quarterly growth fell for the fifth consecutive period to negative 5.2% in September to November 2022.

  • In September to November 2022, total vacancies fell by nearly 34,000 from the level of a year ago, which is the first annual fall since January to March 2021; despite this, all industries remained above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) January to March 2020 levels.

  • In August to October 2022, the number of unemployed people per vacancy remained at 1.0, despite the number of vacancies falling and unemployment rising.

  • In September 2022, workforce jobs rose by 97,000 on the quarter to a new record high of 36.2 million.

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3. Vacancies for September to November 2022

In September to November 2022, the estimated number of vacancies fell by 65,000 on the quarter to 1,187,000, which is the fifth 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 November 2022 are provided by two experimental sources: single-month vacancy estimates (see Strengths and limitations) in Dataset X06 and Adzuna Online job advert estimates. Notably, the single-month vacancy estimates in X06 displayed a large monthly fall in November 2022 and are at their lowest level since July 2021.

The overall quarterly growth rate fell to negative 5.2% with 15 of the 18 industry sectors contracting in September to November 2022. Water supply, sewerage, waste and remediation activities, and arts, entertainment and recreation had the lowest quarterly rates at negative 23.0% and negative 20.1%, respectively.

In September to November 2022, the 65,000 decrease in the number of vacancies is the largest quarterly fall since May to July 2020. The industry sectors displaying the largest falls in vacancy numbers were accommodation and food service activities, down 19,000, and wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, down by nearly 14,000. Construction and other service activities had the largest increases, both up by 3,000 on the quarter.

The fall in the number of vacancies reflects uncertainty across industries, as respondents continue to cite economic pressures as a factor in holding back on recruitment.

In September to November 2022, the total number of vacancies was 391,000 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 by 72,000. When comparing with the same time last year, however, total vacancies decreased by nearly 34,000, with falls in 11 of the 18 industry sectors. The largest fall on the year was in accommodation and food service activities, which was down by 25,000.

In September to November 2022, the ratio of vacancies per 100 employee jobs fell to 3.9 and is at its lowest level since August to October 2021, having shown no growth since February to April 2022. In the current period, this ratio either fell or remained static in 16 of the 18 industry groups.  

For the fourth consecutive period, there was no quarterly growth in any industry size band.

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4. Jobs for September 2022

Figure 4 shows estimates of workforce jobs for September 2022.

The estimates are provided from various sources. Those of employee jobs in the private sector are drawn from surveys relating to a reference date of 9 September 2022, whereas those of self-employment jobs are drawn from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which covers a three-month period from the start of August 2022 to the end of October 2022.

As outlined in Section 7: Measuring the data, this release incorporates revisions to the workforce jobs dataset (after benchmarking to the latest estimates in the provisional annual Business register and Employment Survey (BRES) 2021 figures, and revised BRES 2020 figures). Additionally, revisions to Public Sector Employment (PSE) and the Short-Term Employment Survey (STES) also take effect this month.

In September 2022, workforce jobs rose to a new record high of 36.2 million jobs in the UK. This is an increase of 97,000 since June 2022, and it was driven by an increase in employee jobs of 123,000 and a small rise in government-supported trainees of 6,000. Self-employment jobs countered this with a decrease of 31,000 jobs, alongside a small fall in His Majesty's Armed Forces of 1,000.

The September 2022 estimate is 541,000 above the December 2019 level and the third consecutive period it has exceeded pre-coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic levels. This continues a period of positive growth that started in March 2021, when we saw the first quarterly increase after a series of falls during the pandemic.

The total number of jobs includes both employee jobs and self-employment jobs, with the former rising every quarter since December 2020; meanwhile, self-employment jobs fell in September 2022, after two quarters of positive growth. This growth in employee jobs has resulted in a record high of 31.9 million, just over 1.1 million above its December 2019 pre-coronavirus level.  However, this rate of growth has not been seen in the self-employment jobs, which remain 588,000 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 risen every month since February 2021.

The effect the coronavirus had on job numbers has varied across the labour market, with 8 of the 20 industry sectors still below December 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles saw the largest fall in job numbers, at 149,000. However, large increases in other industries - human health and social work (216,000), professional, scientific and technical activities (141,000), and information and communication (135,000) - have all contributed to keeping workforce jobs above pre-pandemic levels. It is worth noting that these three industries, alongside transport and storage, accommodation and food service activities, and real estate activities are all at record high levels in September 2022.

On the quarter, 15 industry sectors grew from June 2022, contributing to an increase of 97,000 to the total workforce jobs estimate. The largest increases were in accommodation and food service activities, up by 56,000, and transport and storage, up by 44,000. The largest fall on the quarter was in administration and support service activities, which fell by 53,000 jobs.

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5. Vacancies and jobs data

Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 13 December 2022
Estimates of vacancies by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

Workforce jobs summary
Dataset JOBS01 | Released 13 December 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 December 2022
Estimates of jobs by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

X06: Single-month vacancies estimates (not designated as National Statistics)
Dataset X06 | Released 13 December 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


Revisions to the workforce jobs dataset have been implemented this month (after benchmarking to the latest estimates in the annual Business Register and employment Survey (BRES) 2021 figures, revisions to Public Sector Employment (PSE), and the Short-Term Employment Survey (STES)). There were additional revisions to the government-supported trainees (GST) from the devolved administrations, and changes following the seasonal adjustment review. Find out more information on these revisions.  

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 estimatesat this time.

Our Comparison of labour market data sources methodology 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 the LFS weighting methodology through the pandemic, please see our article on the LFS 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 the 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 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 (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 (QMI) 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 13 December 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Vacancies and jobs in the UK: December 2022

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Tom Evans
Ffôn: +44 1633 651833