Job Search By the
Numbers in 2020

by Don Sjoerdsma | Career Advice Expert

With unemployment at a 50-year low, it's
a job seeker's market.

But that doesn't mean it's a perfect market. In fact, there are issues that could be exacerbated by a strong economy, such as industries already in decline, satisfaction with the hiring process and the mobile job search approach.

Whether you're three months into your job search or just starting, these stats will help you land your next big interview.

Let's back up and start with the facts about the unemployment numbers.

Many job seekers say it's easier than ever
to find good work

Job Seeker Icon1

A record 47% of the workforce say now is a good time to find a quality job, and a majority of employees (51%) are actively searching.

The people faring best are

  • With College

    With college

  • Big Cities

    Who live in
    big cities

  • High Skill

    Who work in "high-skill"
    industries, such as:

    Technology | Telecommunications | Marketing

Source: Gallup

Employees Optimistic Icon

A majority (69%) of employees are optimistic or very optimistic about their ability to find a new job.

Source: Addison Group

and they feel so emboldened, they're
even "ghosting" companies.

Seeker Icon 1

More workers (19%, up from 11% in 2018) say they turned down a job after signing an official offer but before their first day …

Source: Jobvite
Seeker Icon 2

… and a whopping 83% of employers say they've been ghosted at some point in the hiring process.

Source: Indeed
Seeker Icon 3

Meanwhile, many job seekers feel they can preemptively reject an employer based on unfavorable Glassdoor reviews:

Source: Jobvite

Don't forget, many people are still hurting

Jon Seeker 1

A lot of job seekers (45%) say it was harder to find a job in 2019 than it was in 2018.

Source: Gallup
Job Seeker PI Chart

Rural workers (27%) are more likely to say they're having a hard time than city dwellers (17%). Those without a college degree (21%) say they're having a harder time than those who have a degree (16%).

Source: Gallup

and some are having an extra hard time.

The groups struggling the most work in the following fields:

  • Mining



  • Transportation



  • Real Estate

    Real Estate


Source: Gallup

Successful and struggling job seekers alike
find the hiring process frustrating.

Seeker Icon 1

Only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees.

Source: Gallup

Here are job seekers' top five biggest frustrations in the job search:

Job Seeker

Mobile Job Seeker

Source: CareerBuilder and SilkRoad

Perhaps it's too lengthy.

  • Calendar 38

    An average of 38 days passes between the job posting and first interview.

    Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers

  • Calendar 25

    An average of 25 days passes between a final interview and job offer.

    Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers

Additionally, more people are conducting job searches on mobile devices⁠, which has its own set of problems.

5 Layers Left
9 Layers Mobile
5 Layers Right

According to Glassdoor, 58% of its users look for jobs on their phones, especially those in mid-career (35 to 44 years old).

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research

Job seekers successfully complete 53% fewer applications and it takes them 80% longer to do so on mobile devices.

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research

Just a little extra work on the potential
employer's part would make people happier.

Job seekers would like to see their applications acknowledged in the following ways:

Seeker Application

Mobile Seeker Application

Source: CareerBuilder and SilkRoad

Let's back up. Where are job seekers
looking for opportunities now?

Job Opportunity

Mobile Job Opportunity

Source: Gallup
Job Seeker Icon

There's a difference between those already with jobs and those looking: 38% of employed workers say they could use their professional networks to create their next opportunity, while only 18% of the unemployed say the same.


Source: Jobvite

Other job sites they rated highly were:

ZipRecruiter | CareerBuilder | VelvetJobs | The Ladders

Source: Consumers Advocate

Employers are enticing job seekers
with the following benefits

Enticing Job Seeker

Mobile Enticing Seeker

Source: Gallup

Perks aside, people usually take
the best overall deal.

Of those who turned down a job after signing an offer, they did so because they:

Perks Aside

Mobile Perks Aside


Source: Jobvite

or they pick the best opportunity
for career growth.

Pick The Best Icon

And 61% of workers say career growth opportunities are more important than compensation (57%) and health care/retirement benefits (58%).

Source: Jobvite

And they're still quite serious about benefits.

Here's what today's job seekers have established as "essential" benefits when considering opportunities:

Seeker Benefit

Mobile Seeker Benefit

Source: Jobvite

Here's what today's workers would like to see most as "extra" benefits:

Extra Benefit

Mobile Extra Benefit

Source: Jobvite

Landing a job

Realistically, you should be prepared to change up your job search if you want to be successful. Please consider:

  • Landing Job Icon 1

    Identifying your transferable skills if you work in a struggling industry (e.g., real estate, transportation), then highlighting them in your resume.

    Real estate agents, for example, have skills that are valued in a wide range of sales positions in booming industries, such as commercial construction.

  • Landing Job Icon 2

    Moving to a city or suburb if you live in a rural area in economic decline.

    In the coming decades, the United States' biggest cities are expected to get richer and more powerful while already depressed rural regions will lose out to automation.

  • Landing Job Icon 3

    Hesitating before filling out applications on mobile.

    Sometimes this is unavoidable, but when you put so much care into crafting a resume and cover letter, you wouldn't want issues with the submissions portal or formatting to hold you back.

If you want to continue expanding your knowledge, read more from our 2020 employment stats series, including stories on:

About the Author

Don Sjoerdsma

About the Author

Don Sjoerdsma

Career Advice Expert

Don is a writer, researcher and content strategist with a proven track record in building cross-platform content plans in diverse sectors. He has written extensively on topics related to careers and employment, including interviewing, resumes, cover letters and the job search. His work has appeared on, The Huffington Post, Yahoo! and LiveCareer. He holds an M.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, where he specialized in media innovation.

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