New year, new job?

It’s estimated that more than 41 million Americans will be searching for jobs this year (about 20-24% of the population), driving a $200 billion and growing job recruitment market. Connecting job-seekers to employers is big business. And it’s one that’s changing, as employers turn increasingly to online outlets, social media, apps and AI, such as conversational chat bots to aid the interview process.

Google has gotten in on the action, launching its online job search portal through its ‘Google for Jobs’ initiative, which it hopes will steer the industry in the right direction.

However, new research suggests that for many job-seeking Americans, online search tools may not be as viable as many are hoping for.

In a recent online survey, CivicScience asked 1,535 U.S. adults how they landed their most recent job. It turns out that websites for job-posting, such as Indeed and Monster, take a back seat to networking through personal contacts. Respondents were 64% more likely to say they found their most recent job through their network or someone they knew than via a job site.

In fact, more people found jobs through networking or knowing the right person than they did through job board websites, headhunters, job events, LinkedIn, or any other method.

Of the known categories, headhunters, recruiters, job events, and social media ranked among the lowest, together accounting for a slim 10% of respondents.

Naturally, the question remains as to whether or not there are more people who use job board websites, as well as headhunters, social media, or other methods, but come out empty-handed. While further research is needed to determine how much the public is engaging with job board websites, in particular, for now, suffice to say that they’re not playing major roles in job-seekers’ success.

Do Young Adults Job-Search Differently?

Even though it’s still debated how frequently the average American worker changes jobs and employers, with estimates ranging anywhere from 2-4 years, some researchers claim Millennials are more likely to job-hop compared to their older peers.  

If that’s true, does job-hopping influence the way Millennials search for jobs?

The survey reveals some discrepancies between age groups.

The youngest job-seekers (18-24-year-olds) used a job board more than older age groups and relied slightly less on their network, likely because they don’t have as large of one early on in their careers

All in all, personal networking/contacts is still the most cited method for finding a job among adults between 25 and 64-years-old. In other words, it appears that networking is a vital aspect of finding a job for many Americans.

The survey also shows that those making over $100k per year are the least likely to have found their most recent job through a job board website.

At the same time, those making up to $50k annually are the least likely to have found a job through networking.

Current occupation paints a clearer picture. Those who are in labor or service jobs are more likely to have selected ‘”Other” indicating they may have applied in person (or by another method) for their current position.

The chart also shows that those in computer/tech and operations/sales fields relied on their network the most.

Job-Searching Isn’t Getting Easier

According to some sources, January and February are the months to search for a new job. With newly-balanced budgets, companies may be more likely to hire. That coupled with current low unemployment and high hiring rates should make it an ideal job market for anyone hankering to make a change.

Yet, public opinion begs to differ. CivicScience found (in a poll of more than 2,397 U.S. adults in 2019) that more people think job-searching will become more difficult instead of easier over the next six months.

In fact, pessimism over job-searching has been on the rise ever since it hit a low in the first quarter of 2019.

With the various ways to search for jobs and with an alleged robust job market, this is a curious trend that warrants some more digging. For the time being, it drives home the need to find new and innovative ways to close the gap between job-seekers and employers.