Almost half a million job vacancies in May

Media Release

There were 480,000 job vacancies in May 2022, 58,000 more than in February 2022, and more than double the vacancies in February 2020 (227,000), according to new seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “The number of job vacancies rose by 14 per cent over the three months to May 2022, to almost half a million jobs. This reflected increasing demand for workers, particularly in customer facing roles, with businesses continuing to face disruptions to their operations, as well as ongoing labour shortages.”

In addition to a higher number of vacancies, the percentage of businesses reporting at least one vacancy also increased.

“A quarter of businesses reported having at least one vacancy in May 2022. This rate was more than double the pre-pandemic level in February 2020 (11 per cent), which highlights the extent to which businesses are finding it more difficult to find staff.

“The large growth in vacancies through the pandemic has coincided with a decline in the number of unemployed people. As a result, there was almost the same number of unemployed people and vacant jobs in May 2022 (1.1 unemployed people per vacant job), compared with three times as many people before the start of the pandemic (3.1).”

The largest growth in job vacancies was in Victoria, which increased by 18 per cent over the three months to May 2022, followed by New South Wales (12 per cent).

While job vacancies were considerably higher than before the pandemic in all industries, the extent of quarterly growth varied between industries.

The industries with the highest growth in vacancies over the quarter were Retail trade (38 per cent), Information media and telecommunications services (18 per cent) and Arts and recreation services (16 per cent).

Vacancies in the private and public sectors both increased over the three months to May 2022 (14 per cent and 9 per cent), though private sector vacancies were still much higher than before the pandemic (117 per cent, compared with 65 per cent in the public sector). 

The ABS would like to thank businesses in Australia for their continued support in responding to our surveys during these challenging times.

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For the purposes of this publication, 'pre-COVID' refers to the February 2020 Job Vacancies, which was before the main impact of restrictions on businesses.
  • Job vacancies in this media release refer to seasonally adjusted data for Australia and sector level. All other estimates are original series.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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