Job Vacancy Survey

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    The Job Vacancy Survey (JVS) is a quarterly survey which collects the number of job vacancies from a sample of businesses taken from the ABS Register of Businesses.

    The Survey of Job Vacancies is used to estimate the number of job vacancies in Australia. Estimates produced from this survey are a leading indicator of employment growth and are used for monitoring the Australian economy and formulating economic policy.

    All job vacancies for wage and salary earners are represented in the Job Vacancies Survey (JVS), except those:

      • in the Australian permanent defence forces
      • in businesses primarily engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing
      • in private households employing staff
      • in overseas embassies, consulates, etc.
      • located outside Australia.
    The sample for the Job Vacancies Survey, like most Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) business surveys, is selected from the ABS Business Register which is primarily based on registrations to the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYGW) scheme (and prior to 1 June 2000 the Group Employer (GE) scheme). The population is updated quarterly to take account of:
      • new businesses
      • businesses which have ceased employing
      • changes in employment levels
      • changes in industry
      • other general business changes.

    The estimates include an allowance for the time it takes newly registered businesses to get on to the survey population.

    Businesses which have ceased employing are identified when the ATO cancels their PAYGW registration. In addition, businesses which did not remit under the PAYGW scheme for the previous five quarters are removed from the frame.


    Conceptual framework
    There are no international recommendations or guidelines relating to job vacancies statistics. However, it has been suggested that it is fairly simple to develop a definition of a 'vacant post' which parallels the definition of an 'unemployed person'.

    The concept of vacant post was discussed in the general report to the Fifteenth ICLS 1993 where the following definition was put forward: "a 'vacant post' can be said to exist if an employer before or during the reference period has taken concrete steps to find a suitable person to carry out a specific set of tasks and would have taken on (entered into a job contract with) such a person if she/he had been available during the reference period".

    Main outputs
    Number of job vacancies by state/territory and sector and by industry division for Australia.

    Australia by sector trend estimates and seasonally adjusted estimates are available.


      • Estimates are published at the state level; and
      • They are not available for any smaller geographical area.

      • Estimates are published at the sector level (private/public); and
      • This is the smallest sector split available.

      • Estimates are published at the ANZSIC division level (1 digit)
    Other concepts (summary)
    A job vacancy is a job available for immediate filling on the survey reference date and for which recruitment action has been taken. Recruitment action includes efforts to fill vacancies by advertising, by on site or online notices, by notifying employment agencies or trade unions and by contacting, interviewing or selecting applicants already registered with the organisation. Estimates of job vacancies exclude:
      • jobs not available for immediate filling on the survey reference date;
      • jobs for which no recruitment action has been taken;
      • jobs which became vacant on the survey date and were were filled on the same day;
      • jobs of less than one day's duration;
      • jobs only available to be filled by internal applicants within an organisation;
      • jobs to be filled by employees returning from paid or unpaid leave or after industrial disputes;
      • vacancies for work to be carried out by contractors; and
      • jobs for which a person has been appointed but has not yet commenced duty.

    New South Wales
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    The largest geographical area covered is Australia. Estimates by state are available. Estimates for geographic areas below state level are not possible.

    State estimates are available by sector but not by industry


    Frequency comments
    Not applicable

    A survey of job vacancies was first run in March 1974. Initially this was an annual mail based collection, based on payroll tax returns. The survey changed to a quarterly telephone based methodology in May 1977 to improve the timeliness of the published statistics. The survey ceased following the May 1978 collection, but was re-introduced in response to user demand in May 1979. In 1983 the Job Vacancy Survey was merged with the Overtime Survey. The overtime component of the survey ceased following the May 1999 survey.

    In August 2002, a number of statistical infrastructure changes were introduced for ABS economic collections. These changes were designed to make better use of data available from the taxation system to improve efficiency, coverage and sample design in the compilation of ABS economic series. The changes did not affect the continuity and comparability of the historical job vacancies series.

    From November 2003, number of employees were no longer collected in the Job Vacancies Survey. The main impact of this change was that job vacancy rates were no longer presented in the Job Vacancies publication (cat. no. 6354.0).

    The Job Vacancies Survey was suspended between August 2008 and August 2009 and was reinstated in November 2009 on the same basis as before the suspension, except that industry data changed from the 1993 edition to the 2006 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).

    In February 2014, the web form was introduced. Due to the nature of the survey the take up rate for the web form is still only approximately 50%.

    Winsorisation was introduced as the primary method to treat outliers in November 2017.

    A sample redesign was implemented for February 2018. The aim of the redesign was to reduce RSEs and volatility in published estimates, while minimising the increase to the overall sample size. Another priority was to stratify by all industries as previously some industries were collapsed into a single group for stratification purposes.

    May 2018 - Sector classification for stratification changed to the BRIMS sector variable.

    The ABS is currently undertaking a major transformation to modernise its key statistical infrastructure. As part of this transformation, the ABS is progressively adopting new data acquisition platforms. JVS commenced using early versions of this new DA infrastructure in May 2019.


    Data availability comments

    02/10/2019 05:50 PM