Job vacancy trends
- Data from June 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: July 2018.
This article gives an overview of annual job vacancy statistics, notably the job vacancy rate (JVR) in the European Union (EU), Norway, Switzerland and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; note that Eurostat also collects quarterly job vacancy statistics.
EU policies in the area of job vacancies aim to improve the functioning of the labour market by trying to help to match supply and demand more closely. The European jobs and mobility portal (EURES) was set up in order to enable job seekers to consult all vacancies publicised by the employment services of each EU Member State.
Main statistical findings
There was a downward development in the annual job vacancy rate in the EU-27/EU-28  from 2008 to 2009, with the rate reaching a low of 1.2 % in 2009 (at the height of the global financial and economic crisis) and staying at this level in 2010. The EU-28 job vacancy rate increased from 1.2 % in 2010 to reach 1.8 % in 2016. This overall increase was composed of an increase to 1.4 % in 2011, stability in 2012 and 2013, and further increases in 2014, 2015 and 2016 — see Figure 1.
The pattern of development for the euro area (EA-19) was quite similar to that recorded for the EU. The job vacancy rate for the euro area fell less strongly than was observed in the EU between 2008 and 2009 (to reach a low of 1.1 %), before increasing in both 2010 and 2011, compared with just 2011 for the EU-28. A fall in the rate for the euro area in 2012 brought the rates for the euro area and the EU-28 back together where they stayed in 2013. In 2014, the increase in the rate observed for the EU-28 was not reflected in the rate for the euro area, while in 2015 and 2016 the rates for the two aggregates increased in parallel, with the latest job vacancy rate for the euro area reaching 1.7 % in 2016 (0.1 percentage points lower than the latest figure for the EU-28).
Among the EU Member States (data not available for Italy, Hungary or Malta), the annual job vacancy rate in 2016 was highest in the Czech Republic (2.9 %) and Belgium (2.8 %), while rates ranged between 2.0 % and 2.5 % in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden and the Netherlands. The job vacancy rate was lower than 1.0 % in six of the Member States in 2016, with the lowest rates (0.7 %) recorded in Greece, Spain and Portugal.
Data sources and availability
Data on job vacancies and occupied posts may be analysed by economic activity, occupation, size of enterprise and region. The national statistical authorities responsible for compiling job vacancy statistics send their data to Eurostat; they are used to compile the job vacancy rate for the EU and the euro area.
Some of the data provided by the EU Member States fail to match common criteria and there may be differences in the coverage of the data between countries; as a result, there are currently no EU totals for the actual numbers of job vacancies or occupied posts. Work is currently under way to close these coverage gaps.
The EU and euro area job vacancy rates are calculated on the basis of the information that is available; no estimates are made for missing or incomplete data. It is therefore not possible, at present, to provide EU or euro area job vacancy rates analysed by occupation or size of enterprise.
The job vacancy rate, in part, reflects the unmet demand for labour, as well as potential mismatches between the skills and availability of those who are unemployed and those sought by employers. Job vacancy statistics are used by the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) to analyse and monitor the development of the labour market for the EU and its individual Member States. These statistics are also a key indicator for assessing the business cycle and for a structural analysis of the economy.
Policy developments in this area have mainly focused on trying to improve the labour market by more closely matching supply and demand, through:
- modernising and strengthening labour market institutions, notably employment services;
- removing obstacles to worker mobility across Europe;
- better anticipating skills needs, labour market shortages and bottlenecks;
- managing economic migration;
- improving the adaptability of workers and enterprises so that there is a greater capacity to anticipate, trigger and absorb economic and social change.
The European jobs and mobility portal (EURES) was set up with the aim of providing job seekers in the EU with the opportunity to consult all job vacancies publicised in each of the Member States’ employment services. The website provides access to a range of job vacancies from 32 European countries (the 28 EU Member States, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
European job days are another EU initiative in this domain, with hundreds of events being organised across Europe. These aim to raise awareness about the opportunities and practicalities of living and working in another European country, encouraging mobility throughout the EU, and putting job candidates in touch with employers who have job vacancies. Such events typically include job fairs, seminars, lectures, workshops and cultural events, all aimed at improving labour mobility.
- Employment statistics
- Job vacancy statistics
- Labour market statistics at regional level
- Unemployment statistics
- Unemployment statistics at regional level
Further Eurostat information
- Job vacancies in number and % - NACE Rev. 2, B-S, quarterly data (tps00172)
- Job vacancy statistics by NACE Rev. 2 activity - quarterly data (from 2001 onwards) (jvs_q_nace2)
- Job vacancy statistics by NACE Rev. 2 activity, occupation and NUTS 2 regions - quarterly data (jvs_q_isco_r2)
- Job vacancy rate by NACE Rev. 2 activity - annual data (from 2001 onwards) (jvs_a_rate_r2)
- Job vacancy statistics - historical data (jvs_h)
- Job vacancy statistics by occupation, NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev. 1.1 activity - annual data (2000-2008) (jvs_a_nace1)
- Job vacancy statistics by NACE Rev. 1.1 activity - quarterly data (2001Q1-2009Q4) (jvs_q_nace1)
- Job vacancy statistics by occupation, NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev. 2 activity - annual data (2008-2015) (jvs_a_nace2)
Methodology / Metadata
- 1st and 2nd International Workshops on Methodologies for Job Vacancy Statistics in Nuremberg (2008) and Neuchâtel (2009) - Proceedings
- The European Union labour force survey
Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)
- EURES, the European jobs and mobility portal
- European Commission — Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion — Monitoring the job market
- OECD — StatExtracts — Registered Unemployed and Job Vacancies (MEI): Job Vacancies
- Note that there is a break in series for the EU between 2009 and 2010 as the coverage increased from 27 to 28 EU Member States.