Job Vacancies, Australia

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Results of the quarterly Job Vacancies Survey containing estimates of job vacancies classified by industry, sector and state/territory.

Reference period
August 2021

Key statistics

The seasonally adjusted estimates for the August 2021 quarter are as follows:

  • Total job vacancies were 333,700, a decrease of 9.8% from May 2021.
  • Private sector vacancies were 302,400, a decrease of 10.9% from May 2021.
  • Public sector vacancies were 31,300, an increase of 2.3% from May 2021.
 Aug-21Quarterly changeAnnual change
Private sector302.4-10.964.3
Public sector31.32.341.1
Private and public sectors333.7-9.861.8

Survey impacts

Continuing the use of forward factors for seasonal adjustment

In the May 2020 Job vacancies release, the ABS advised that the method used to produce seasonally adjusted estimates would be changed from the ‘concurrent’ method to the ‘forward factors’ method, during the COVID-19 period. The forward factors approach is better suited to managing large movements at the end point of series and ensures that large movements do not have a disproportionate influence on the seasonal factors.

Given the large movements in the labour market during the COVID-19 period and the continuing use of a forward factors approach to seasonal adjustment, the ABS undertook an extensive annual review of its seasonally adjusted job vacancies series, prior to the release of the job vacancies May 2021 estimates. Static forward factors for the next 12 months were calculated through this annual process and were used from the May 2021 release.

For further information on seasonal adjustment during a period of uncertainty please see: Seasonal adjustment throughout periods of significant disruption and uncertainty | Australian Bureau of Statistics (

Suspension of trend estimates

Consistent with other ABS labour statistics, the JVS trend series have been suspended until more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in the estimates over the COVID-19 period. The reinstatement of JVS trend estimates will be reviewed for the November 2021 cycle. Spreadsheets containing seasonally adjusted and original data will continue to be published in the standard format, but trend series will not be published during the COVID-19 period. 

Survey responses remain high in August

Responses for the Job Vacancies Survey August 2021 quarter remained high. The ABS would like to thank the Australian business community for their continued support in responding to our surveys during such a challenging time, given how critically important this information is.

Other measures of labour demand

In addition to Job Vacancies, there are a number of non-ABS indicators that measure labour demand using alternative concepts, sources and methods. These are also widely used as leading indicators of employment. Prominent examples include the ANZ Job Advertisement Series, the SEEK Employment Report, and the National Skills Commission's Internet Vacancy Index. 

Measures of job vacancies and job advertisements will differ for a number of reasons. One of the key differences is that job vacancies includes jobs for which job advertisements are undertaken but also include jobs where other recruitment approaches are exclusively used, such as word of mouth or social media. According to the National Skills Commission's Survey of Employer's Recruitment Experience, 22 per cent of jobs are not advertised (i.e. recruitment is done through word of mouth alone or by considering people who approach the business). For further details on recruitment practices, please see the Employers' Insights on the Australian Labour Market 2020 Data Report.

Furthermore, job vacancies count every position advertised within a single notice, while some job advertisements may be used to fill multiple positions. 

Job vacancies over time

Job vacancies decreased by 9.8% (36,200 vacancies) in the three months to August 2021 (seasonally adjusted). The August vacancies reflect a point in time where many businesses were subject to restrictions, with a number of states in lockdown. 

However, the level of job vacancies remained higher than they were six months ago, and were still 46.5% higher than in February 2020, prior to the start of the pandemic. The ongoing high level of vacancies reflects the pace of recovery in labour demand from the fall in May 2020, as well as a number of industries indicating labour shortages, particularly for lower paid jobs. 

The Job Vacancy Survey was suspended between August 2008 to August 2009 (inclusive). 

Businesses reporting vacancies

The number of businesses reporting at least one vacancy also shows the extent of the acute reduction in labour demand in May 2020, as well as the subsequent change. In May 2020, a much lower proportion of businesses reported at least one vacancy (6.5%). By May 2021, this had increased to 22.0% of businesses. For August 2021, this number declined to 20.3% but remained higher than February 2020 (11.0%), which was prior to the impact of COVID-19. 

Proportion of businesses reporting vacancies, states and territories
New South Wales12.1%5.8%11.6%15.1%19.6%22.9%19.4%
South Australia8.1%2.9%8.8%9.1%15.7%15.6%13.1%
Western Australia10.2%5.5%15.6%16.7%16.3%21.7%21.5%
Northern Territory9.2%6.7%20.7%21.0%21.8%26.5%20.8%
Australian Capital Territory9.4%3.5%4.7%17.3%12.1%13.8%9.4%
Proportion of businesses reporting vacancies, industry
Electricity, gas, water and waste services10.2%11.8%21.9%18.5%13.9%12.8%9.9%
Wholesale trade14.6%14.1%14.0%17.8%15.2%23.6%22.3%
Retail trade13.3%9.7%9.9%17.8%16.4%21.6%21.4%
Accommodation and food services14.5%2.3%13.9%16.9%30.5%30.5%18.3%
Transport, postal and warehousing5.3%4.1%10.7%4.3%20.2%22.0%15.7%
Information media and telecommunications14.0%7.0%5.2%14.0%18.3%20.0%15.9%
Financial and insurance services4.5%5.0%6.6%15.7%16.9%20.5%10.3%
Rental, hiring and real estate services6.9%4.1%11.8%12.8%11.1%16.9%19.3%
Professional, scientific and technical services9.4%9.2%14.8%14.2%14.5%16.4%15.4%
Administrative and support services16.5%7.8%16.2%18.9%17.1%23.6%29.8%
Public administration and safety31.3%22.6%27.9%35.4%30.0%42.2%29.8%
Education and training7.5%4.0%10.8%5.2%8.6%11.5%9.7%
Health care and social assistance8.2%6.5%8.9%13.6%13.4%23.3%21.2%
Arts and recreation services3.4%0.5%2.1%21.0%3.1%14.0%9.3%
Other services10.6%5.6%11.1%16.7%21.1%22.8%28.1%
All industries11.0%6.5%12.1%14.7%18.1%22.0%20.3%
Reasons for vacancies
Increased workload35.9%32.0%36.7%41.3%44.5%45.4%42.3%
Expansion of business25.4%15.7%19.9%21.2%25.4%26.8%25.3%
Special event1.5%2.7%3.0%2.3%2.1%2.1%2.5%

Businesses may have multiple reasons for reporting job vacancies
Proportions are of businesses that reported at least one vacancy

States and territories

Change in job vacancies, states and territories
Change from previous quarter
Change from corresponding quarter of previous year

Private sector

Change in job vacancies, private sector
Change from previous quarter
Change from corresponding quarter of previous year

Public sector

Change in job vacancies, public sector
Change from previous quarter
Change from corresponding quarter of previous year


Job vacancies ('000), industry, original
Electricity, gas, water and waste services1.
Wholesale trade6.59.913.414.017.814.4
Retail trade11.418.525.724.934.333.6
Accommodation and food services*5.0*13.522.427.638.227.6
Transport, postal and warehousing3.
Information media and telecommunications2.
Financial and insurance services7.812.312.814.717.915.8
Rental, hiring and real estate services*1.0*
Professional, scientific and technical services13.123.527.031.231.931.7
Administrative and support services17.524.226.828.635.236.8
Public administration and safety8.613.416.715.017.217.5
Education and training3.
Health care and social assistance19.728.437.739.147.751.2
Arts and recreation services**0.1**
Other services*3.6*8.310.613.615.416.0

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use



The trend estimates have been suspended from May 2020 for all job vacancies series due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labour market.

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6354.0.

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