Job vacancy survey: documentation of statistics
Basic data of the statistics
The Job Vacancy Survey provides information on the development and changes on the labour market from the perspective of the employer. In the survey, establishments drawn for the sample are asked to provide the number of job vacancies during a specific reference period. The first day of the last month of each quarter (1 March, 1 June, 1 September and 1 December) is used as the reference period. As the reference period remains unchanged over the years, the statistics serve as a situation report on the demand for labour in each quarter based on the responses received from employers.
A total of 2,500 establishments take part in the data collection in each quarter. Based on the data collection, a picture is formed of open job vacancies in the whole of Finland. Data are collected on the number of personnel in establishments, types of ownership, number of job vacancies and their qualitative features (part-time, fixed-term and hard-to-fill). It is also determined how many of the job vacancies are unoccupied and how many of these job vacancies without an employee will only be filled later.
The initiative for the survey came from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and from the European Central Bank. The basis for the survey was the need for reliable, regular, up-to-date and comparable data from Member States on the number and structure of job openings. The statistics are based on Regulation (EC) No 453/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council.
The job vacancy survey is a sample-based statistics providing data on job vacancies in Finland on a quarterly basis. The results describe the demand for labour and changes in it examined from the viewpoint of employers. The compilation of the statistics is based on Regulation (EC) No 453/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council. The objective is to produce up-to-date and comparable data on the number and structure of job openings in the EU Member States.
The population of the statistics comprises all private and public sector establishments located in Finland and employing paid employees representing at least one staff-year. An establishment is a unit located in a single place that mainly produces goods or services of one type. All industries except for activities of households as employers, activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies, and defence are included in the survey.
The Register of Enterprises and Establishments maintained by Statistics Finland is used as the sampling frame of the survey. It contains about 150,000 active enterprises in each of which the number of wage and salary earners measured in staff-years is at least one. The annual sample is drawn from the sampling frame using systematic random sampling by stratum.
An establishment is the statistical unit of the job vacancy survey.
Unit of measure
The number of job vacancies is the unit of measure used in the job vacancy survey. The figures are rounded to the nearest 100.
In the survey, establishments drawn for the sample are asked to provide the number of job vacancies during a specific reference period. The first day of the last month of each quarter (1 March, 1 June, 1 September and 1 December) is used as the reference period.
Annual results are averages of quarterly results.
The reference area for the job vacancy survey is the whole of Finland. In addition to the estimates describing the situation in the whole of Finland, results are also published at the level of major regions.
The population of the statistics comprises all private and public sector establishments located in Finland and employing paid employees representing at least one staff-year. Based on the data collection, a picture is formed of open job vacancies in the whole of Finland. All industries except for activities of households as employers, activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies, and defence are included in the survey.
Data have been collected from the beginning of 2002 and results have been released since 2003. The sample design of the survey was revised at the start of 2013. For this reason, the time series starting from 2013 are not comparable with the previously produced time series.
Frequency of dissemination
The results of the job vacancy survey are published on a quarterly basis about 45 days after the end of each quarter. Yearly data, which are given as averages of the quarterly data, are also published in connection with the data on the last quarter of the reference year. An agreement-based datafile of the results is also submitted to the EU each quarter and the EU uses these data as a basis for statistics on Member States.
No preliminary data are prepared as the released data are final.
The establishment is a key unit in the application of the Standard Industrial Classification because
- data by establishment gives the best picture of the structure of the economy,
- establishments can be used for collecting data and producing statistics on the activities of enterprises by geographical and administrative area,
- it is fastest and most economical to collect many basic data related to production, such as numbers of items produced and hours worked, directly from establishments,
- establishments make it possible to obtain data by industry on enterprises operating within several industries,
- all statistics on persons describe the distribution of the population by industry or economic activity through establishments.
As an enterprise always operates at some location, it has at least one establishment. Most enterprises have a single establishment while the largest enterprises may have numerous establishments in different parts of the country. Furthermore, these may operate in different economic sectors.
Accuracy, reliability and timeliness
Reliability of the figures contained in the job vacancy survey is impacted by random variation arising from sampling. Random variation due to sampling means that figures calculated from different samples differ somewhat from each other. The size of the random sampling is estimated on the basis of standard errors of estimates. Using standard errors as a basis, a confidence interval is calculated for the estimates and with a certain probability, the confidence indicator contains the actual value of the parameter to be estimated. A sample survey may also involve bias independent of the sample design, which arises from such factors as measurement errors, nonresponse or over-coverage or under-coverage of the sampling frame.
There are no delays between the release calendar and the actual release date.
All information required under EU regulation is produced on the job vacancies survey.
No preliminary data on the job vacancy survey are compiled and the data released are final. Correcting of the figures published once has been very rare.
Only seasonally adjusted results published in the Eurostat database are slightly changed by seasonal adjustments.
The uncertainty arising from the sample partially depends on the size of the sample. Annual figures contained in the job vacancy survey are more accurate than the quarterly figures describing the same matter because the number of establishments used in the annual statistics is four times higher than the total used in quarterly statistics. As a rule, the figures calculated on the basis of samples are also more accurate when describing larger groups. For this reason, the total number of job vacancies is a more reliable figure than the number of job vacancies in smaller subgroups, such as industries and regions.
The reliability of the estimate caused by sampling is assessed by calculating the standard error or coefficient of variation of the used estimator. Standard error (square root of the sample variance) describes how closely the value of the parameter estimated from the observations is concentrated around the parameter of the population. The magnitude of the standard error is affected by sample design, the number of observations in the relevant population or subgroup, and variation in the characteristic being examined, i.e. the variance of the variable.
Standard error can be used to calculate the margin of error or the confidence interval at which the sought value of the population is located at a certain probability (in many cases, the confidence level is 95 per cent), and the relative standard error. The confidence interval describes the width of the range in which the real value of the parameter is relative to the estimate calculated from the sample. When calculating the confidence interval, the desired level of risk is fixed. The five per cent risk level used in the job vacancy survey means that if the samples were drawn again, in 95 cases out of one hundred the real value of the parameter would be within the confidence interval and in five cases out of one hundred it would be outside the confidence interval.
Relative standard error (coefficient of variation) is the percentage of the standard error of the estimate. Proportioning the standard error to the estimate’s size removes the effect of the scale of the variable. Hence the values of the relative standard error of different variables and the values of the standard error of the same variable in different subgroups are easy to compare with one another.
Sampling errors (user) / A1a
|Confidence interval of 95%
|Relative standard error (%)
|Job vacancies, total
|± 11 200
|Type of ownership
|± 10 000
|Municipality, Joint Municipal Authority or Wellbeing Services County
|± 4 600
|± 1 200
|± 2 000
|± 1 200
|Number of employees
|± 5 700
|± 2 700
|± 5 600
|50 or more
|± 7 300
|Major region (2012)
|± 7 000
|± 3 900
|± 7 400
|Northern and Eastern Finland
|± 4 000
|Industry (TOL 2008)
|± 5 300
|± 1 900
|± 5 900
|± 3 900
|± 5 100
|± 3 800
|± 1 400
Coverage error means the differences between the sampling frame and the target population. The Register of Enterprises and Establishments kept by Statistics Finland is used as the sampling frame of the job vacancy survey. As the register data are updated with a delay, the sampling frame contains establishments that are no longer operational or are not included in the survey target population (over-coverage), while at the same time, there are also new establishments that have not yet been entered in the sampling frame (under-coverage). In 2022, eight per cent of the establishments drawn in the gross sample were determined as over-coverage in connection with the data collection.
Measurement errors arise because questions can be understood and interpreted in different ways, the respondent does not remember things or is unwilling to give information, or there are errors in the registration of the answers. Efforts are made to reduce measurement errors by developing and testing questions on the survey forms, interview instructions, and the user interface and by training interviewees.
Answers are not obtained from all establishments selected for the sample. This is called non-response. The estimation is solely based on the establishments providing answers and their number is reduced by non-response. In that case, the uncertainty arising from the sample increases and confidence intervals become wider.
Unit non-response rate / A4
The net response rate of the job vacancy survey data collection for the whole of 2022 was 82 per cent, which means that non-response accounted for 18 per cent of the net sample.
Examples of possible errors in statistical releases include erroneous figures in release texts, figures or tables, or use of incorrect concepts. Unlike revisions, error situations are unexpected deviations in the normal production of statistics.
Errors are corrected and the users are informed about them as quickly as possible. Statistics Finland informs about significant errors to the same extent and through the same channels as in the releasing of the original data.
Notations about corrections and their points of time are added to the corrected releases. If possible, the original, erroneous data are also left visible.
Typographical and other form errors in statistics are corrected as fast and flexibly as possible and no separate notifications are made of them on the web pages.
Information about changes made to statistical databases is posted on the ‘Changes in the database’ page. Only the latest data are updated in databases.
Deviations from timetables are also regarded as errors. If the release of statistical data is significantly delayed from the announced point of time, information about the delay is posted on Statistics Finland’s home page.
Comparability - geographical
The statistics are based on Regulation (EC) No 453/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and the statistics cover the whole of Finland.
The industry-specific results of the statistics on job vacancies in Finland published in the database of Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union, differ from the figures published in Finland. In the figures published in Finland, job vacancies filled with temporary agency workers are included in the industry of the establishment where the work is performed. Thus, industry-specific figures give the industry where the need for labour arises. In most EU countries, temporary agency vacancies are classified in the industry temporary employment agency activities. Finland has submitted the results classified in accordance with EU practice to Eurostat since 2020. Eurostat's time series have been calculated retrospectively to 2018 according to the new classification.
Comparability - over time
The first job vacancy survey was compiled for the first quarter of 2002 but the statistical data have only been publicly accessible from 2003 onwards.
From 2006 onwards, data suppliers have been able to give their responses by telephone or on an online questionnaire. Based on a methodological comparison, the data collection reform has not impacted the comparability of the time series.
Since 2009, as recommended by Eurostat, the average annual estimate of job vacancies has been calculated as average of quarterly estimates. The annual averages presented in the StatFin database tables have been produced using this calculation method. Before the reference year 2009, the annual estimates of the job vacancy survey releases were produced by calculating new inflating coefficients on the basis of the data for the year as a whole. The difference between the estimates calculated in this manner and the average of quarterly estimates has been between one and five per cent.
The sample design of the job vacancy survey was changed from the reference year 2013 so that the strata and the sample targets are in better accordance with the information needs of the data users. Despite these changes, the survey population will remain unchanged but the turnover of the sample targets has been speeded up and in addition to the size category and location of the establishment, consideration in the sampling is also given to the industry required by the information users as the key data. These reforms have a significant impact on the results and the figures cannot be compared with the data released in the past. Job vacancy survey data based on the new design have been published since the first quarter of 2013. Time series produced before that are no longer updated.
Length of comparable time series / CC2
A comparable time series of the job vacancy data exists since 2013.
Coherence - cross domain
In addition to the sample survey carried out by Statistics Finland, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment also publishes register data on the number of job vacancies by occupational group and ELY Centre. Because of differences in methodology, definitions and production, the data published by the Ministry and Statistics Finland are not comparable. The key difference is that the employment service statistics compiled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment only contain the job vacancies that employers have reported to the public employment service. Statistics Finland's data, in turn, are based on a sample survey and cover to some extent both job vacancies that have been reported to the employment service and vacancies that have not been reported.
Because of the structure of the Register of Enterprises and Establishments used as a basis for the sampling frame and the data collection method, the job vacancy survey does not include all job vacancies. The job vacancy survey does not include the job vacancies of household employers or extraterritorial organisations and bodies. Furthermore, the criterion of one staff-year set for the number of wage and salary earners of the establishment as well as the exclusion of short substitutions mean that some of the job vacancies may have been reported to the employment service but are not listed in the job vacancy survey.
The job vacancy survey is not intended to replace the employment service statistics. These two data sources should be seen as complementary indicators of the demand for labour. For more information on the differences between the statistics, see the methodological description (PDF, in Finnish).
Coherence - sub-annual and annual statistics
The annual data contained in the job vacancy survey are averages of quarterly data.
Source data and data collections
The job vacancies survey is based on the sample data collected on a quarterly basis. A total of 2,500 establishments take part in the data collection each quarter.
The annual sample is drawn from the sampling frame using systematic random sampling by stratum. The size category based on the number of employees of the establishment (1 to 4, 5 to 9, 10 to 49, at least 50) and the industrial category of the establishment (A, B–E, F, G–I, J, K–L, M–N, O–Q, R–S) are used as strata. From the sampling frame, a total of approximately 10,000 establishments are drawn to the annual sample so that they are divided into size categories (2,000, 3,000, 3,000, 2,000) and in each size category they correspond to the division of the industrial strata of the sampling frame. The sample frame has been grouped based on the location of the establishment so the annual sample is regionally self-weighting. The annual sample is divided into quarterly samples based on random numbers. One-half of the establishments in the quarterly sample are replaced by new ones every year. An individual establishment is included in the survey independent of the size category at most in two consecutive years and always in the same quarter.
The data are collected by interviewers of the Statistics Finland’s Interview data collections group. Starting from the first quarter of 2006, data suppliers have also been able to submit their responses on an online questionnaire. In 2022, a total of 67 per cent of all respondents chose this option. The net response rate for the 2022 data collection was 82 per cent.
The person knowing most about the recruitment in the establishment is selected as the supplier of data. In establishments with a low number of personnel, the respondent is usually the entrepreneur or the director. In large establishments, Statistics Finland usually contacts the human resources administration. On average, responding to the survey takes ten to fifteen minutes but there is substantial variation in the duration as the establishments represent different industries and are of different sizes.
Data are collected on the number of personnel in establishments, types of ownership, number of job vacancies and their qualitative features. A job vacancy is a completely new job or an existing workplace for which an employer seeks an employee. According to this definition, the job must also be open for application to persons not working in that establishment, and the employer must have taken active measures to fill it. Active measures include reporting a job vacancy to a TE Office and using of other reporting channels or contact networks. Jobs to which an unpaid trainee, outside subcontractor or a contractor is sought are not considered job vacancies. Likewise, substitutions lasting less than one month are not considered job vacancies.
The data for the employment services survey of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment are also collected in connection with the job vacancy survey, and the results of this survey are used to develop the operations of the employment administration and mapping of recruitment problems facing establishments.
Frequency of data collection
Data for the job vacancy survey are collected on a quarterly basis. In the data collection for each quarter, inquiries about job vacancies in the reference period are made, and the reference period used is the first day of the last month of the quarter (1 March, 1 June, 1 September and 1 December).
Cost and burden
On average, responding to the survey takes ten to fifteen minutes but there is substantial variation in the duration as the establishments represent different industries and are of different sizes.
Like all figures collected in sample surveys, the figures of the job vacancy survey are estimates. An estimate is an estimation of a quality of the population derived by applying a mathematical procedure (estimation) to sample observations.
The data collected are inflated by stratum to correspond to the number of establishments of the sampling frame. Stratum-specific weighting coefficients are calculated for all establishments submitting responses by dividing the number of establishments in the sampling frame by the number of establishments participating in the survey. Each establishment taking part in the survey thus represents the number of establishments in the population indicated by its weight. The estimates thus formed describe the number of job vacancies in the whole of Finland in each reference period. Annual estimates are averages of quarterly estimates.
The response data and also the final data are checked in connection with the compilation and reporting. Checks of the responses have been programmed in the questionnaire form. The program includes checks on the values allowed for response data and logic checks.
In the editing and validation of the responses, the observation values are checked and if necessary corrected. The corrections are made both programmatically and manually so that a high quality of the results can be ensured. This way, the mutual logicality and compatibility of the received responses are ensured. The impact of clearly deviating values on the results is limited by reducing the inflation coefficient specified for the response. This is done by placing outliers into a separate stratum so that they only represent themselves in the data.
The quality of the statistical data to be published is verified by non-response reviews, comparisons with the data collected by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the results of the same period in the previous year. Eurostat also validates and checks the results received each quarter.
The figures presented in the job vacancy survey and StatFin database tables are not seasonally adjusted. Depending on the reference period, there is substantial variation in the number of job vacancies and as a result, no conclusions on trends in the demand for labour or changes in them can be made by comparing figures for successive quarters. To describe them, only the data for the corresponding quarters in successive years should be compared with each other.
In addition to original series, seasonally adjusted results are also published in the Eurostat database and the seasonal variation occurring in the same manner each year has been eliminated from these figures. Long-term developments and cyclical variations are easier to identify in seasonally adjusted than in unadjusted quarterly data.
The seasonally adjusted figures transmitted to Eurostat have been calculated using the Tramo/Seats method recommended by Eurostat. Due to the method used, the last figures for the seasonally adjusted time series become slightly revised when the data for the following quarter are inserted into the time series. When seasonally adjusted series are used it should be noted that in the Tramo/Seats method, the latest figures are partially based on model-based forecasts, and thus, conclusions made on their basis should be approached with caution. Further information about seasonal adjustments and limitations on the use of seasonally adjusted figures can be found at: stat.fi/til/tramo_seats_en.html.
Documentation on methodology
A methodological description (PDF, in Finnish) has been prepared on the job vacancy survey. It describes the differences between the job vacancy survey and the data published in the employment service statistics of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
Principles and outlines
Contact organisation unit
Legal acts and other agreements
The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics.
Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.
Further information: Statistical legislation
Preparation of the job vacancy survey is mainly based on Regulation (EC) No 453/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulations (EC) Nos 1062/2008 and 19/2009.
Confidentiality - policy
The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable.
Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)
Confidentiality - data treatment
The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. The unit-specific data of the calculation data must be kept confidential.
Data are handled only by persons who need the data in their work. The use of data is restricted by usage rights.
All employees participating in the compiling of the statistics have signed a pledge of secrecy, where they have obliged to keep secret the data prescribed as confidential by virtue of the Statistics Act or the Act on the Openness of Government Activities. The response data are only used for statistical purposes. The research data are protected in accordance with the data protection regulations issued by Statistics Finland and the responses submitted by individual establishments are not shown in the statistical tables.
Under Section 13 of the Statistics Act (280/2004), Statistics Finland may, on the basis of a separate licence, disclose data for scientific research and statistical reviews without data permitting direct identification. The Statistics Act prohibits the use of data collected for statistical purposes in an investigation, surveillance, legal proceedings, administrative decision-making or other similar handling of a matter concerning the enterprise.
Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service.
Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland
Quarterly results of the job vacancy survey are submitted to Eurostat 70 days after the end of the last month of the quarter in question. Eurostat publishes the data on its web pages.
Chargeable special compilations can be requested from the statistics information service.
Accessibility and clarity
Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.
In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases.
Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.
Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service.
Data collected for statistical purposes must be kept confidential under Section 24 of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999). Datasets of the job vacancy survey are not disclosed outside Statistics Finland in an identifiable format (Statistics Act 280/2003). Data can be released only on the basis of a separate application for licence to use statistical data and without identifiers for scientific research and statistical surveys.
Data revision - policy
Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions.
The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before.
Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.
Results of the job vacancy survey are used in the monitoring of changes in the labour market and demand for labour. The statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat), the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and other political decision-makers and the media are the most important users of the data. Eurostat steers the contents of the survey and monitors its quality. Eurostat uses the quarterly statistics supplied to it as a basis for statistics on the European Union and its Member States.
Eurostat regularly evaluates the statistics supplied to it within the framework of international cooperation and regulation.
The quality of the job vacancy survey is described in accordance with the standard-format quality documentation of Statistics Finland. As required under EU regulations, a quality report on the statistics is also submitted each year and it is published on the Eurostat website https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cache/metadata/en/jvs_esms.htm.
The quality of the job vacancy survey is assessed in several different stages of the statistical process. Such matters as standard errors and nonresponse is monitored on a quarterly basis.
Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The job vacancy survey is an official set of statistics.
Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)
Every year Statistics Finland conducts statistical auditing that helps to ensure the quality of statistics. The job vacancy survey was audited in spring 2016.
Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published.
Further information: Publication principles for statistics
In special cases, data can be released before the official release under the embargo principle. Such situations include legislative-based or contract-based deliveries of statistics to Eurostat for a publication released after Statistics Finland has released the data or for mandatory EU reporting. In such cases, the data must be indicated as confidential until their release (the embargo principle, i.e. the recipient may not publish the data before the agreed time).
Are you looking for previously published documentation?
The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.Go to the archive page