What does the average job seeker look like?

Aaron Green, president of Professional Staffing Group in Boston and immediate past chairman of the board of directors at the American Staffing Association, presents insight on job seekers from a number of recent employment-related surveys.

They currently have a job. Among the employed respondents to Jobvite’s 2012 Social Job Seeker survey, 69 percent said they were either “actively seeking” a new job or were “open to” a new job. That number is up from 61 percent in Jobvite’s 2011 survey.

They care about career advancement more than money. A Professional Staffing Group survey of job applicants asked respondents why they’re looking for a new job and the number one answer that is given twice as often as any other reason is that their current job lacks advancement or development opportunities.


They spend a lot of time on their job search. According to a survey conducted in the spring of 2012, 69 percent of workers say searching for new opportunities is part of their regular routine and 30 percent say job searching is a weekly activity. Thirty-five percent are preparing for their next job within weeks of starting a new one.

They are getting younger. The average worker stays at a job for 4.4 years, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But 91 percent of Millennial workers (born 1977-1997) expect to stay at a job for less than three years. The recession hit younger workers hard and current unemployment rates for workers aged 25-35 are higher (8.2%) than the unemployment rate for workers aged 55 and older (6.2%). The unemployment rate is almost 24 percent for eligible workers aged 16-19 and it is over 12 percent for people aged 20-24.


They continue to get more diverse. The US Census Bureau reported that Massachusetts’ minority communities are growing. Over the past 10 years, the Asian and Hispanic populations in Massachusetts each grew by 46 percent, while the number of black or African American citizens grew by 26 percent.

They look for jobs online. CareerBuilder’s survey found that the majority of workers come across jobs these three ways: online search (74%), traditional networking (68%) and job boards (67%).
Job seekers also use the web to research opportunities. Before applying for a job, 81 percent say they look at personal and professional networks, 74 percent say they read news about a company online and 74 percent say they conduct research on a company’s web site.


They are using social networks for professional purposes. In the Jobvite survey, 25 percent of the job seekers who were surveyed said they added professional information to their Facebook account and 26 percent said they added work-related content to their LinkedIn account. Twenty percent said they had received a new job lead via Facebook and one in six survey respondents credited social media for helping them land a new job.

They prefer Facebook to LinkedIn or Twitter. In what may seem surprising to some, a survey by Jobvite found that 52 percent of job seekers use Facebook to help find work (up from 48% one year ago), while 38 percent of the job seekers surveyed said they used LinkedIn (up from 30% one year ago) and 34 percent said they used Twitter.


They’re starting to budget. In another CareerBuilder survey, forty percent of Americans say they rely on their next paycheck to make ends meet, compared to 42 percent who felt that way last year and 46 percent in 2008. However, 27 percent say they never save any money from their paychecks each month. Of those workers in the survey who say they live paycheck to paycheck, 43 percent are between the ages of 45-54, 42 percent are aged 35-44 and 40 percent are 18-34.

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