Vacancies and jobs in the UK: September 2023

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

Nid hwn yw'r datganiad diweddaraf. Gweld y datganiad diweddaraf

Email Karen L Grovell

Dyddiad y datganiad:
12 September 2023

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
17 October 2023

2. Main points

  • The number of vacancies in June to August 2023 was 989,000, a decrease of 64,000 from March to May 2023.

  • Vacancy numbers fell on the quarter for the 14th consecutive period in June to August 2023, down by 6.0% from March to May 2023 with vacancies falling in 13 of the 18 industry sectors.

  • In June to August 2023, total vacancies were down by 268,000 from the level of a year ago, although they remained 188,000 above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) January to March 2020 levels.

  • In June 2023, workforce jobs fell by 153,000 on the quarter to 36.7 million, with self-employment jobs showing a record quarterly fall.

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3. Vacancies for June to August 2023

In June to August 2023, the estimated number of vacancies fell by 64,000 to 989,000, the 14th consecutive period to show a fall on the quarter since May to July 2022 and the first time vacancies have been under 1 million since May to July 2021.

The headline vacancy estimates are based on three-month averages, which naturally involve some time lag. Insights into trends in August 2023 are provided by two experimental sources, single-month vacancy estimates (see Strengths and limitations), in Dataset X06, and Adzuna Online job advert estimates. Notably, Dataset X06 has also fallen below 1 million for the first time since June 2021.

The total number of vacancies fell by 6.0% from the previous quarter, with administrative and support service activities, and professional, scientific and technical activities contracting the most, falling by 15.7% and 12.1%, respectively. The largest growth was in mining and quarrying at 5.9%.

June to August 2023 continued the sequence of quarterly falls that began in May to July 2022, with vacancies falling by 64,000 from the previous quarter. The industry sector showing the largest fall in vacancy numbers was professional, scientific and technical activities, down by 13,000.

When comparing June to August 2023 with the same time last year, total vacancies fell by 268,000 (21.3%) with falls in 16 of the 18 industry sectors. The industry with the largest fall was accommodation and food service activities, where the number of vacancies fell by 48,000.

The total number of vacancies remains 188,000 above January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels, with human health and social work activities showing the largest increase of 45,000. Only real estate activities are currently below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels.

In May to July 2023, the number of unemployed people per vacancy was at 1.4, up from 1.2 in February to April 2023. Although this ratio remains low by historical standards it does show a slight loosening of the labour market as the number of vacancies fell against an increase in unemployment.

Only the smallest size band increased in June to August 2023, growing by 3.4%.

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4. Jobs for June 2023

Figure 4 shows estimates of workforce jobs for June 2023.

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 June 2023, whereas those of self-employment jobs are drawn from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which covers a three-month period from the start of May to July 2023. This is outlined in Section 7: Measuring the data.

In June 2023, UK workforce jobs fell to 36.7 million. This is a fall of 153,000 since March 2023, with a record quarterly fall of 197,000 in self-employment jobs having the largest contribution. Employee jobs offset this slightly, increasing by 68,000 on the quarter, but a further fall of 25,000 across government-supported trainees and HM Forces resulted in total workforce jobs falling for the first time since December 2020. Despite the quarterly fall, workforce jobs remain 995,000 above their December 2019 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) position.

The total number of jobs includes both employee jobs and self-employment jobs. The former has risen every quarter since September 2020 resulting in a record high of 32.4 million and is 1.6 million above its December 2019 pre-coronavirus level. This level of growth has not been repeated in self-employment jobs, which remain 651,000 below December 2019 levels. The growth in the employee jobs component of workforce jobs up to June 2023 is also reflected 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 also increased over the same time period.

The effect coronavirus had on job numbers has varied across the labour market, with 8 of the 20 industry sectors still below pre-coronavirus levels. The hardest hit sector, wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicle and motorcycles, saw the largest fall in job numbers, at 205,000. However, the majority of industries showed increases, with the largest from human health and social work, which was up 333,000, and professional, scientific and technical activities, which was up 211,000, helping to keep total workforce jobs above pre-coronavirus levels. In June 2023, human health and social work reached a new record high at nearly 4.8 million, with further record highs recorded in accommodation and food service activities, information and communication, and water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities.

On the quarter, the number of workforce jobs declined in 11 industry sectors from March 2023, contributing to the decrease of 153,000 in the total workforce jobs estimate. The largest decrease came from wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, down by 64,000. Further large decreases were seen in professional, scientific and technical activities, down 52,000, and transport and storage, down 46,000. The largest increase on the quarter was in accommodation and food service activities, which rose by 44,000.

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5. Vacancies and jobs data

Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 12 September 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 12 September 2023
Single month Vacancy Survey estimates, not seasonally adjusted.

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6. Glossary


Positions for which employers are actively seeking recruits from outside their business or organization are defined as vacancies. 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. 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 releases.

A more detailed glossary is available.

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7. Measuring the data

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

An 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 coronavirus (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, 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 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 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.

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 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.

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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10. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 12 September 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Vacancies and jobs in the UK: September 2023

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Karen L Grovell
Ffôn: +44 1633 456103