Study Finds Most Workers Actively Seeking New Opportunities

By Roy Maurer July 22, 2015

New research rejects the commonly held belief that currently employed workers are not looking for new jobs, an important distinction that informs how companies approach their recruiting strategy.

Indeed’s Talent Attraction Study, conducted within the United States among more than 8,000 adults in the spring of 2015, reveals that 71 percent of people in the labor force are actively seeking or are open to a new job, and 90 percent of people hired within the past year actively searched for work prior to being hired. Only 10 percent of people hired within the last year received a job offer without looking at all.

“No one is passive about their career in 2015,” said Tara M. Sinclair, chief economist for job search company Indeed. “While the industry has traditionally believed employed candidates are passive and not actively looking for new jobs, many employers have already moved on from this notion and dubbed it an antiquated way of thinking.”

About half (49 percent) of the 90 percent of respondents hired within the past year visited an online job board within six months of being hired, 47 percent looked at job listings on online job boards and 46 percent looked at company careers pages.

Smaller percentages of respondents reported visiting a professional social networking site for job opportunities (26 percent), using a mobile job search app (25 percent), attending career fairs (20 percent) or using a recruiter (14 percent), according to the study results.

Continuously Job Searching

The study found that 58 percent of respondents look for new job opportunities at least monthly. Nineteen percent said they search for job opportunities monthly, while 20 percent do so weekly, and 18 percent look daily. Another 8 percent said they look for new job opportunities on a yearly basis, while 19 percent reported that they never look for new job opportunities.

According to Indeed, 65 percent of people look at new jobs within three months of being hired and half of people who make between $100K-$110K look at new jobs within 28 days of being hired.

The trend line for active job searching goes up for younger and better-educated candidates, according to the study results. Whereas 62 percent of people age 65 and older actively job search, the percentage increases to 75 percent for those ages 45-54; 84 percent for ages 35-44; and 90 percent for ages 18-34.

The education level of those actively searching for new jobs ranges from 76 percent for those with a high school education or less, 81 percent for those with some college, and 86 percent for college graduates or higher.

Those with a college degree or higher (49 percent) are more likely to be currently subscribed to job alerts than those who have some college or no college (41 percent), the study found.

Employers Prefer Active Candidates

Ninety percent of the 1,000 HR professionals surveyed by Indeed would prefer to hire a candidate who is actively pursuing new job opportunities. Half of them believe that active candidates have a stronger desire to succeed once hired. That number goes up to 70 percent among talent acquisition directors and vice presidents, according to Indeed.

Lack of passion (51 percent) was the No. 1 reason given for why employers believe passive hires fail in their new roles, followed by not being able to adapt to the position (40 percent), not being a good fit (32 percent) and not being able to adapt to the new culture (31 percent).

Owning the Job Search

Candidates are more confident in the jobs they find themselves, rather than jobs presented by a recruiter, according to study results. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of employed adults said they would feel more confident that a job is right for them if they picked the company and applied versus if a recruiter contacted them. About half (52 percent) said they think they would be more successful in a job they found on their own versus one they got because a recruiter or company contacted them first.

Salary (77 percent), location (54 percent) and flexibility (51 percent) are the top three factors when deciding to accept or reject a job offer, respondents revealed.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy


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