A large majority of U.S. workers are on the job market, with more than half of employed Americans actively seeking or open to new jobs, according to the 2014 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Study, released Feb. 6.
Jobvite’s online survey of 2,135 adults, conducted in December 2013, found that 71 percent of the U.S. labor force is “willing to wander.” This figure includes unemployed people and the 51 percent of employed workers who are actively looking for or open to new positions.
According to Jobvite, a Burlingame, Calif., recruiting software company focused on the “social Web,” the results reflect a transformation in the U.S., where job-hopping is common, job seekers tap online resources, and businesses must do more than post jobs to websites and hire recruiters to attract the best employees.
The Mobile Job Hunt
“People are now looking for jobs all the time, and they’re using their mobile device to do so,” Jobvite President and CEO Dan Finnigan told SHRM Online in a recent interview. “They’re doing it throughout the day. They’re doing it in bed; they’re doing it while eating; they’re doing it in the bathroom”—and in the office at their job.
Workers may start “shopping” online for a new opportunity a year or two before they make a move to leave their current position. Companies need to get themselves in front of these potential employees, Finnigan advised.
“Recruiting is becoming not just a sales activity anymore; it’s becoming a marketing activity,” he said. Employers must zero in on certain segments of the labor force the way that online retailers focus on targeted shoppers, according to Finnigan, who previously was general manager of Yahoo HotJobs.
The study found that 35 percent of workers change jobs at least every five years and 18 percent do so every six to 10 years.
Unlike workers a half-century ago, today’s employees no longer expect their company to provide a lifelong career path, he noted. “They are building their careers on their own, and, therefore, they are always looking for the next job.”
Today’s professionals ask members of their social networks for reviews of companies or seek them on Glassdoor.com. Kyle Jones, human resources manager at MegaGate Broadband Inc. and social media co-director for Mississippi SHRM, wasn’t surprised that the poll found so many people looking for a new position, given the structural changes in the labor market.
“I do think people are more apt to move place to place than they were maybe 10, 15 years ago,” he said. “I’ve heard before someone say [that] anyone who is in business should always be prepared with a resume and looking for the next opportunity if for no other reason but to help make sure that they are on top of their game” so they “don’t become stagnant.”
Forty percent of job seekers found their favorite or best position through personal connections, a figure in line with recruiters’ view of referrals as the highest-quality source of hires, according to Jobvite.
For job seekers, after personal connections, other top sources of opportunities include: online social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (21 percent); online job boards (20 percent); classified ads (19 percent); recruiters (10 percent); college fairs and college connections (7 percent each).
The vast majority of candidates have an account with at least one of the six online social networks included in the survey: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.
“I do a lot of my own recruiting using Facebook, using Twitter, using LinkedIn,” Jones said, and many recruiters use Glassdoor. He noted that Internet usage has risen over the past decade. In his first HR job, Jones looked for talent by placing classified ads in newspapers, which took several days to publish. “Now it’s instantaneous—I can post it to my Facebook page.”
Classified ads may remain an important recruiting source for blue-collar jobs, but recruiters seeking an IT director will look elsewhere, Jones said. “I think it goes into the HR person knowing the position, knowing the job description and then knowing the market from which they’re going to gather their candidates.”
“Social” job seekers (those who use social media to find their next role) tend to be younger, more highly educated and more likely to be employed full time, according to Jobvite.
Facebook is by far the most popular professional network for job seekers, followed by Twitter; but recruiters prefer LinkedIn to search for candidates, Jobvite reports.
Jones will announce vacancies on Facebook, but he makes a point of steering clear of the site when vetting candidates, reviewing their professional credentials on LinkedIn. The reason? He considers Facebook more of a social network and doesn’t want to inadvertently bias his view of candidates based on personal information they post there.
“I specifically have a rule—and this is just me personally,” Jones said. “I will go to your LinkedIn, but I will not go to your Facebook page if you are a candidate.”
Businesses, though, need to keep Facebook in mind when marketing themselves to potential employees, according to Jobvite’s top executive.
“Recruiters can’t ignore the fact that a significant percent of the population is on Facebook … and is talking about your company,” Finnigan said.
That’s why it’s critical for businesses to keep their online presence fresh, Jones noted.
“Developing a good company brand is very important, especially when you’re getting out into a market that is a highly competitive field and you’re trying to recruit a select type of individual for a position.”
Dinah Wisenberg Brin, a former Associated Press and Dow Jones Newswires reporter, is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer.