Data in this section are supplied by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and provide information about the stocks and flows of vacancies notified by employers to Jobcentre Plus, the Public Employment Service for Great Britain.

The data are sourced from Jobcentre Plus’ Labour Market System, an administrative computer system covering 100% of vacancies notified to Jobcentre Plus. Figures are updated monthly with no revisions to previous months data.

Interpretation of these data needs to take account of changes in recent years to Jobcentre Plus procedures for taking and handling vacancies. The figures are not fully comparable over time and may not indicate developments in the labour market. See the usage guidelines section below for details.

In particular, changes introduced by Jobcentre Plus to its vacancy handling procedures have implication for data from May 2006.

The rest of this section contains information about:
Data available through Nomis
Usage guidelines
Change from May 2006

Data available through Nomis

Current data are available in seven data sets. A summary analysis, then two data sets each - an industrial and an occupational analysis - for notified, unfilled and outflows.

  1. Summary analysis . An overview of the number of notified, filled and outflows in an area.

  2. Notified vacancies. Monthly data on the inflow of newly notified vacancies to Jobcentre Plus.
  3. Unfilled vacancies. A monthly snapshot of the number of unfilled vacancies held by Jobcentre Plus. The unfilled vacancies total can be split into live unfilled vacancies and suspended unfilled vacancies. Live unfilled vacancies are those for which a jobseeker can actively apply. Suspended unfilled vacancies are those neither closed nor currently available to jobseekers.

  4. Vacancy outflow. The count of vacancies that have either been filled by Jobcentre Plus or withdrawn during the specified month. Vacancies filled by Jobcentre Plus are those vacancies filled as a result of Jobcentre Plus actively submitting a client to that job. Manyvacancies notified to Jobcentre Plus will also have been advertised by employers through otherrecruitment channels (such as local newspapers and private recruitment agencies) and may have been filled through these routes. These vacancy outflows will be shown as withdrawn.

Geographical Areas

Data for standard geographic areas (i.e. all except Jobcentre areas) give information on the true location of the vacancies. Jobcentre areas give information about the location of the Jobcentre Plus office that is designated as owning the vacancy.

With standard areas such as local authorities, wards, super output areas / data zones, and parliamentary constituencies, the postcode of the vacancy is used to determine its location.

Where the vacancy postcode is missing or misrecorded, and in the case of speculative placings, the employer's postcode is used (4% of cases). In the absence of both the vacancy and employer postcodes (1% of cases), the postcode of the Jobcentre Plus office designated as owning the vacancy is used. This procedure ensures that all vacancies are allocated a valid postcode.


Duration information is available with the unfilled and outflow data sets. For the unfilled vacancies data sets, these statistics are calculated as the number of days between the date the vacancy was notified and the stock count date specified. For the outflow dataset, these statistics are calculated as the average number of days between the date the vacancy was notified to Jobcentre Plus and the date the vacancy was closed (i.e. either filled or otherwise withdrawn).

In the standard Nomis analysis, the number of vacancies can be analysed by a series of pre-defined duration bands. A measure of the average or median duration can be obtained (advanced query only) by choosing the analysis option then selecting average number of days between vacancy notification and count date.

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Usage guidelines

Interpretation of these data needs to take account of changes in recent years to Jobcentre Plus procedures for taking and handling vacancies. The figures are not fully comparable over time and may not indicate developments in the labour market.

The Jobcentre Plus vacancies series do not provide comprehensive measures relating to all vacancies in the economy. The proportion of vacancies which are notified by employers varies over time, according to the occupation and industry of the vacancies and also by geographical area.

In the case of unfilled vacancies, use of the figures on live vacancies is recommended (ie excluding suspended vacancies, and this is the default option. Live vacancies may still include some vacancies which have already been filled or are otherwise no longer open to recruits, due to natural lags in procedures for following up vacancies with employers.

The main use of these figures is for cross-sectional analysis of vacancies as an indication of the types of jobs currently available, eg by occupation or local area, rather than absolute measures of the number of vacancies or of changes in these over time.

Changes from May 2006

From April 2006 Jobcentre Plus introduced changes to its vacancy handling procedures. These have implications for the published vacancy statistics from May 2006 onwards.

Prior to April 2006, vacancies notified to Jobcentre Plus were followed up with the employer to ascertain whether (a) they should remain available to jobseekers, or (b) whether they should be closed or had been filled by clients referred by Jobcentre Plus. Vacancies filled were monitored as one strand of Jobcentre Plus performance.

From April 2006 Jobcentre Plus performance is being assessed differently and there is consequently no longer an operational need to follow up vacancies. Vacancies notified to Jobcentre Plus now have a closure date agreed with the employer. Vacancies are automatically withdrawn on the closure date unless the employer advises that a later closure date is required.

Impact on statistics

Evidence from pilots of the new procedures suggests that inflows of newly notified vacancies may fall by some 5 per cent as a result of a reduction in speculative placings. (These are not notified in the normal sense, but are recorded when Jobcentre Plus speculatively refers a client to an employer with whom they subsequently secure a job.)

Auto-closure of vacancies will, over time, also lead to a reduction in the recorded stocks of unfilled vacancies, but in due course these are expected to reflect more accurately job opportunities available via Jobcentre Plus.

Filled vacancies will no longer be recorded on Jobcentre Plus computer systems. Consequently, for datasets from May 2006 onwards, only statistics on total vacancy outflows will now be published on Nomis. There will be some changes to the mean/median duration of both unfilled and closed vacancies which will reflect the new processes.


For further information, refer to the following article:

Publication of Jobcentre Plus vacancy statistics
   Labour Market Trends, June 2005, pp253-259

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