magnifying glass looking at statistics on paper

21 Surprising Job Seeker Statistics for Employers to Know in 2020


Defining your ideal candidate persona is one of the very first steps in an effective hiring process. What types of applicants do you want to attract? What are their motivations for finding a new job? Where do they go to search for opportunities?

To provide a glimpse into job seekers’ wants, needs, and nuances in today’s unique hiring climate, we pulled some of the most interesting data points from our 2020 State of Online Recruiting Survey – some of which did not make it into the full report. The following are 21 surprising job seeker statistics to consider when creating your ideal candidate persona.


Employment Numbers: What’s motivating candidates to search for new jobs? COVID-19 layoffs, career changes, and the desire to explore greener pastures are a few reasons today’s job seekers are on the hunt. Notable stats include:

  1. 22.2% of job seekers are employed full-time and actively seeking a new job.
  2. 10.9% are employed part-time or on a temp/contract basis and actively seeking a new or second job.
  3. 36.9% of unemployed job seekers have been displaced due to COVID-19 layoffs.
  4. 5.5% of unemployed professionals are out of work because they are changing careers.
  5. 16.7% of unemployed job seekers have been searching for a job for 12+ months.


Passive Job Seekers: Don’t forget to connect with passive job seekers in your talent search – even though a candidate is employed, they still may be interested in exploring opportunities with your organization. Consider:

  1. 17.4% of job seekers are employed but passively seeking a job.
  2. 86.0% of passive job seekers receive job alert emails from one or more job search services/platforms.
  3. 43.9% have a searchable resume on an online recruiting platform.


Job Search Challenges: Understanding candidates’ pain points will help you reach talent more efficiently. For example, communicate with all applicants, even if that means simply letting them know when they are no longer in the running for a position. A few statistics on job seeker challenges include:

  1. 18.8% of job seekers said their No. 1 challenge is not hearing back from employers after applying and/or interviewing.
  2. 40.5% of candidates selected “finding jobs in my desired location” among their top three challenges when using an online recruiting platform.
  3. 32.9% said “finding jobs that meet my salary requirements” was one of their top three online job search issues.


Job Search Platforms: Sourcing the right talent requires looking in the right places. Consider the following stats before selecting a recruiting platform:

  1. 49.4% of candidates first go to a general job board when searching for career opportunities online.
  2. 21.6% first go to an industry-specific job board.
  3. 0.73% first go to their alumni/school network.
  4. 37.7% of job seekers believe the ability to contact employers directly is the most important element of an online job search platform.
  5. 34.6% say the volume of job opportunities on a job board is most important


Create Your Account Today

Already Registered?
Sign in »


Job Postings: Your job ad can make or break your ability to recruit effectively, so you’ll need to include information that will compel candidates to apply. Think about the following data points:

  1. 48.9% of job seekers most want to see the salary range of a position in a job ad.
  2. 21.1% want to see details about what it’s like to work for that employer/company culture information.


Remote Work: In light of COVID-19, it’s vital to understand candidates’ sentiments toward remote work to convince them to respond to your posting. According to our survey:

  1. 8.3% of job seekers believe the option to work remotely is one of the top three most valuable pieces of information in a job posting.
  2. 42.2% prefer a flexible work environment – a mix of office/remote work.
  3. 7.6% prefer 100% remote work.


For more survey results, access the full 2020 State of Online Recruiting Report. Or, get started finding your ideal candidate on one or more of iHire’s 56 industry-specific sites.

About the data: More than 2,800 job seekers from across 56 industries responded to iHire’s 2020 State of Online Recruiting Survey, conducted in May and June 2020. All decimal points have been rounded up to the nearest tenth.

by: Kristina Kelly
August 28, 2020