Average Time to Fill is 41 Days: Dissecting the Findings of iCIMS’ Workforce Report

The year of the Great Reset. That’s how software provider iCIMS has dubbed 2023 in its newly released Workforce Report. (Having labeled this year as that of the Great Reshuffle and 2021 as that of the Great Resignation, let’s hope that this will be the final great fill-in-the-blank phrase deployed in talent.) The report, which is based on a September survey of 3,000 U.S. job seekers, as well as data from the company’s database of employer and job-seeker activity, reveals numerous insights. Among the top findings:

  • 63% of job seekers say a top factor in their decision to accept a job offer is whether the job is remote, hybrid, or in-person
  • It takes 41 days to fill an open role
  • 2 to 3 is the average number of interviews a candidate goes through before being hired
  • 58% of people find it difficult to find open jobs to apply for at their company
  • Almost 80%of workers do not feel secure professionally or financially
  • 2 out 5 of workers feel they do not have a good work-life balance

The Waiting Game

As of September, employers have been receiving 21 applications per opening, an increase of 20% since the beginning of the year. But before you deduce that the talent shortage is over, the open secret is that there never was a talent shortage to begin with. For various roles in certain industries, however, there has instead been a skills shortage. 

Point is, sure, you want more applicants for a role — but only if they are quality applicants. 

Meanwhile, iCIMS says that it is taking an average of 41 days to fill an open role. What’s more, 70% of talent professionals reporting a candidate goes through two to three interviews before being hired. That’s still too long, but at least it’s two days fewer than in 2001. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, retail shows the least time-to-fill, at 34 days. Meanwhile, tech companies are averaging 49 days.)

A “Post-Covid” World

The report then explains that we now work in a “post-Covid” world. Of course, we are not in a post-Covid world, but we have seemingly entered one that feels as if we are. Yet this is perhaps the part of the report to skip over because, let’s be honest, who needs to read findings like 21% of people say that the economy is impacting their mental health? Or that 93% of respondents said flexibility was top of mind? Or that nearly half of respondents are concerned about how a downturn will impact their job and finances? (Perhaps the other half aren’t paying attention enough!) 

Now, the report does indicate that one-third of respondents plan on looking for a new job by the end of next year, but again, that seems like a benign finding. This is the sort of stat that is perennially meant to scare employers into thinking that there’s a mass exodus looming. But the reality is that people are continually open to new opportunities. “Open” does not mean someone is going to, or even more apt, to leave. 

Quirky Findings

Here’s another aspect of iCIMS’ report that might cause a needless freakout: “Only 30% of people report they love their jobs.” Notice the use of “only.” Look, if one-third of your workforce loves their jobs, consider yourself extremely lucky — or just recognize that this is a hazy metric. Nevermind that people can “love” a job and be bad at it, or they they can “love” it because they can easily disengage from it.

Speaking of, iCIMS found that 42% of respondents say that work is not their top priority. So what precisely does this imply about the other 58%? This is perhaps one of the quirkiest findings in the report.

Another odd finding is that 59% of people rank their company’s DEI initiatives as effective, but most respondents are not seeing DEI practices in place at their workplace frequently. In other words, most people say the initiatives are effective, but not really? 

The Remote Work Struggle

One of the more important and interesting revelations in the report is that more than half of respondents feel they have a better chance of being promoted if they work in-person rather than remotely. Notably, 41% of women felt they were less likely to be promoted if they worked remotely, compared to 32% of men.

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There’s this, too: Nearly 60% of people said they were more likely to get training or learning opportunities in an in-person environment. That’s perhaps another open secret that we all feel or know but maybe do not acknowledge enough. In any case, it certainly speaks to the importance of addressing the reality of remote work more. While it’s a cliché at this point to say that remote work is here to stay, it’s clear that many organizations have a lot of progress to make in terms of embedding it into their cultures.

Internal Mobility Is Hot, Sort Of

The same can be said for internal mobility, which remains a hot topic in talent, but feels a bit cooler in practice.

iCIMS reports that only 42% of people think that it’s easy to find open jobs they might want to apply for in their company. Also, less than 30% believe that if they work hard and apply skills effectively in their current job, they will be promoted to a better job with a higher-ranking title at their company.

Additionally, 87% of workers are thinking about a promotion. As Tim Sackett writes, though, “[S]ome will read this and think, ‘Wow, that’s awesome!’ But if you’re a leader of people, you quickly understand how problematic this is! 87% of folks want a promotion. About 10% actually get a promotion. And we wonder why over 50% of our workforce is disengaged.”

Indeed, iCIMS found that 70% of people don’t know how to progress in their careers. The takeaway is clear: Employees and candidates need more information and guidance on professional development, as well as applying for (especially internal) roles.

Ultimately, the report concludes with the epitome of saccharine advice — but that doesn’t mean it’s not also valid: “As the workforce evolves, business success will rely upon business and talent leaders willing to take a bold approach to talent acquisition.”

Vadim Liberman is editor of ERE.net and TLNT (the devil wears TJ Maxx) — a workplace renegade advancing how we think, work, and live. He has previously worked as a strategy consultant to HR and recruiting tech companies at The Starr Conspiracy, as a talent management professional at Prudential, and as senior editor of The Conference Board Review, a magazine for business leaders. Vadim loves to talk about all things HR, talent acquisition, and Bravo TV shows. Bring it!

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