6102.0.55.001 - Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, Apr 2007  
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Contents >> Concepts and Sources >> Chapter 11. Job Vacancies



11.1 This chapter discusses the concepts, definitions and sources of job vacancies data. Job vacancies are an indicator of unmet labour demand and complement indicators of underutilised labour supply such as unemployment (
Chapter 6: Unemployment) and underemployment (Chapter 5: Underemployment). Job Vacancy data are used by Commonwealth and State government departments, employer associations and trade unions as a leading economic indicator and econometric forecasting.


11.2 There are currently no international recommendations or guidelines relating to job vacancies statistics. It is, however, fairly simple to develop a definition of a 'vacant post' which parallels the definition of an 'unemployed person' on the supply side of the labour market
(footnote 1). The concept of vacant post was discussed in the general report to the Fifteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians 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."

11.3 Job vacancies statistics are collected in the ABS Job Vacancies Survey (JVS) (see
Chapter 27: Job Vacancies Survey). ABS defines job vacancies in the JVS as employee jobs available for immediate filling on the actual survey reference day and for which employers have undertaken recruitment action. Recruitment action includes efforts to fill vacancies by advertising, by factory notices, by notifying public or private employment agencies or trade unions and by contacting, interviewing or selecting applicants already registered with the business or organisation.

11.4 Measures of job vacancies exclude:

    • jobs not available for immediate filling on the reference day;
    • jobs for which no recruitment action has been taken;
    • jobs which became vacant on the survey reference day and 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;
    • jobs for which a person has been appointed but has not yet commenced duty.


11.5 Data on job vacancies are available from the ABS, while data on the number of job advertisements are available from a number of other sources including the private sector. Job vacancies should not be confused with job advertisements. Job vacancies data may differ from data on the number of job advertisements for a number of reasons, including the multiple advertising of a single vacancy.

11.6 Estimates of job vacancies and job advertisements are available from:
    • the ABS Job Vacancies Survey;
    • the Australian and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) Job Advertisement Series;
    • the SEEK Employment Index Report, which includes the New Job Ads Index; and
    • the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Vacancy Report.


11.7 Estimates from this survey are produced according to the definitions outlined above. For more information on the data content and methodology of this survey refer to
Chapter 27: Job Vacancies Survey).


11.8 The ANZ produces two series, one based on counts of newspaper advertisements placed in major metropolitan newspapers, the other on counts of internet advertisements on selected employment internet sites. Readers should refer to the
ANZ Job Advertisement Series for more detail on the content and methodology of these series.

11.9 Counts of job advertisements can differ from counts of job vacancies for several reasons, including the multiple advertising of a job.


11.10 SEEK produces a monthly New Job Ads Index which measures the number of new job ads posted on their website in a particular month. The series is adjusted to ensure that multiple postings count as one ad. The index is available in both original and seasonally adjusted terms. Readers should refer to the SEEK Employment Index report for more detail on the content and methodology of these series.


11.11 DEEWR produces three series:
    • the Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) based on a count of newly lodged online vacancies on selected employment internet sites (from secondary sources);
    • the Skilled IVI based on counts of internet advertisements for skilled vacancies (the aggregation of Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) categories Professionals, and Technicians and Trade Workers);
    • The Regional IVI, which provides indices for more detailed geographic areas.
The DEEWR IVIs code internet advertisements to occupation at the ANZSCO four digit level for Australia. Readers should refer to the DEEWR Vacancy Report for more detail on the content and methodology of these series.


11.13 For further details contact the Labour Market Statistics Section, on Canberra (02) 6252 7206 or email <labour.statistics@abs.gov.au>.


1. E. Hoffman, "Measuring the demand for labour", in Bulletin of Labour Statistics, 1992-1, ILO, Geneva 1991 (

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