Job Seeker Nation Report: 82% of Workers Seeking New Opportunities

Apr 24, 2018

If there’s one thing that jumps out from Jobvite’s 2018 Job Seeker Nation Study, it’s this: they hit you immediately with the huge changes going on today in the world of recruitment and talent acquisition.

This wasn’t the case with the 2017 Job Seeker Nation report, because it focused on the “many different versions of the American job seeker … (and the) diverse American job seeker experiences.”

The latest study, instead, acknowledges “the ongoing evolution that recruiting and TA professionals are struggling with in today’s difficult talent management environment.” It also made this point:

“Right now, all eyes are on the workplace.

Recruiting and hiring practices are undergoing enormous change. The rise of a new generation, emergence of AI/automation, and a reevaluation of what makes a “qualified” candidate have transformed traditional hiring forever. It’s no longer a linear start-to-finish; rather, recruiting and hiring top talent in today’s world requires a continuous cycle of engagement.

Employers and job seekers alike must adapt to this model in order to navigate the new world of job seeking and recruiting successfully. This year’s survey of 1,500 American job seekers examines the relationship between recruiters and candidates, the expectations on both sides, and what a successful hiring journey looks like.”

Job Seekers Have High Expectations

The top line data in the Job Seeker Nation report isn’t as deep and weighty as all of that. Instead, it focuses on how “each new year brings new challenges to the job hunt and the hiring game.”

That won’t surprise most TA professionals — they know better than anyone that the “hiring game” is constantly in flux — and the responses, although interesting and useful, probably won’t shock anyone who recruits and hires people for a living.

For example:

  • While most workers (61 percent) are satisfied with their current jobs, half of them (51 percent) say they change jobs every one to five years.
  • Similar to last year, 82 percent of workers are open to new job opportunities, although almost half of them believe it’s at least somewhat harder to find a job this year than last.
  • Compensation was the No. 1 factor for leaving a job in the last year, according to 19 percent of job seekers. But for 13 percent of younger workers especially, a lack of growth opportunities is enough to drive them away.
  • Job seekers have high expectations, and recruiters are under pressure to meet them. Almost a quarter of job seekers applied to their current or most recent job via LinkedIn. Of those who didn’t, 38 percent sent their resume directly to a current employee or recruiter.
  • One in five respondents (22 percent) have preemptively rejected a potential employer due to Glassdoor reviews and other public company reviews.
  • Almost a third of all job seekers (30 percent) have left a job within the first 90 days of work, with 43 percent indicating that their day-to-day role wasn’t what they expected.

The Job Seeker Nation Study also dips into a number other areas that I found interesting — and had some more intriguing insights.

Culture as a Factor in Recruiting and TA

The big one that jumped out to me is the section that notes that “Culture” is a Buzzword for a Reason, particularly given how important company culture is in both attracting and retaining employees:

  • Culture is important to most candidates — The vast majority of job seekers (88 percent) cite culture as at least of relative importance in applying to a company — and close to half (46 percent) claim it’s very important.
  • Nearly a third (32 percent) say they would even be willing to take a 10 percent pay cut for a job they’re more interested in or passionate about.
  • For those job seekers who have turned down an offer, 15 percent point to company culture as the main reason why. Work environment and company mission are overwhelmingly powerful draws for job seekers today — and potential reasons for rejecting an offer.

Losing Hires During the Post-recruitment Period

Another interesting section (Post-Recruitment, the Process Doesn’t End There) gets into how onboarding and the post-recruitment period is so critical in making sure the great candidates you just spent so much effort to hire don’t sour on the new job and jump ship before they can really get settled in:

  • Nearly a third (30 percent) of job seekers say they have left a job within the first 90 days of starting work.
  • Why did they leave? 
    • Some 43 percent said that their day-to-day role wasn’t what they expected.
    • More that a third (34 percent) said they had a specific incident or bad experience drove them away.
    • Another third (32 percent) say that the company culture was such that that they left within the first three months.
    • Plus, 11 percent changed their minds on an offer after signing — most often because they received a better offer afterward (60 percent).

Two other noteworthy areas in the 2018 Job Seeker Nation Study are ones that people are reading about daily — harassment and bullying in the workplace.

Harassment and Bullying on the Job

In the section titled #MeToo: Harassment in the Workplace, the numbers were actually a lot lower than one would expect given recent news reports.

For example, the survey found that during the past two years, just 9 percent of American workers were sexually harassed at work, most often by managers (53 percent), followed by senior leadership (31 percent) and peers (27 percent).

Given recent media reports, this 9 percent number was probably the most surprising one in the entire survey, although perhaps the qualifier “during the past two years” is reason for that. It may be that if they asked about harassment over, say, the past five years, that the numbers would have been larger.

Still, given the huge media focus and large number of high-profile harassment incidents over the last six months, I would have thought that the number of harassment incidents reported would have been well into the double digits. As the Job Seeker Nation Survey asked, “How big is the issue of workplace harassment — and how does it impact how job seekers view a company?”

That’s a good question, but from the inconclusive numbers in this survey, it’s still hard to tell.

The numbers were somewhat larger — and more telling — when it came to bullying on the job.

In the section titled “Bullying: A More Pervasive Problem,” the Jobvite analysis notes that, “while harassment has received much necessary attention this year, bullying in the workplace is a bigger issue than many have thought.” The numbers seem to bear this out:

  • During the past two years, 14 percent American workers say they were bullied at work.
  • Who did the bullying? Most often it was by managers (57 percent), followed by peers (33 percent) and senior leadership (32 percent), and it happened more to younger workers (19 percent) vs. older workers (9 percent).
  • However, bullying is less likely to be reported than sexual harassment. Some 58 percent of job seekers who have been bullied at work in the last two years didn’t report it. And 66 percent of job seekers who experienced either harassment or bullying at work said they would actively pursue a new job — especially women (71 percent) and married workers (69 percent).

Heavy on Data but Light on Analysis and Insight

Here’s my take: Jobvite’s 2018 Job Seeker Nation Study has a lot of data and numbers, and that’s good because I always question reports that make a big splash with a couple of high-profile numbers but then seem to be light on actual data to back them up.

This is not the case with the Jobvite survey, so if you’re a numbers wonk or just like lots of data, the Job Seeker Nation Study is a good one for you.

But, I’ve been spoiled by so many research papers that also give you a lot of expert analysis and insight, and this is where the Jobvite survey comes up short. Now, it’s possible that there will be a lot more of that to come in the final report (the copy I received was supplied early to the media and under embargo), but that’s not the case from the version I have.

Still, it’s a good report to dig into if you’re a recruiter, sourcer, or any kind of TA professional who wants to keep up on the latest trends. There’s a lot more here than I could summarize, so if you’re into a lot of data, take a good look at the 2018 Job Seeker Nation Study because you’ll get a much better understanding of the larger trends that are impacting your work hiring people in today’s hyper-competitive environment. You can download it here

About this survey: the Job Seeker Nation Study was compiled by Zogby Analytics for Jobvite, and is based on an online survey of 1,509 recruiters in the U.S. Jobvite supplied Zogby Analytics a list of leads and customers. Each invitation was password coded and secure so that one respondent could only access the survey one time. Based on a confidence interval of 95 percent, the margin of error for 1,509 is +/- 2.5 percentage points. This means that all other things being equal, if the identical survey were repeated, its confidence intervals would contain the true value of parameters 95 times out of 100.

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