2020 Job Seeker Nation: Key Findings from This Year’s Report

Jobvite: Job Seeker Nation Survey

Extra! Extra! Read all about it. The annual Job Seeker Nation report is in, and it gives an in-depth look at job seekers’ preferences and behaviors both pre and post-COVID-19 

In recent years, low unemployment rates kept job seekers firmly in the driver’s seat of the US labor market. A scarcity of available workers meant candidates often had their choice of roles when it came time for a professional change. 

But the COVID-19 crisis caused a sudden and dramatic shift in this balance. Since mid-March, the US has seen more than 30 million new unemployment claims, and some experts predict the unemployment rate may top 20% by the end of 2020. 

How are job seekers responding to this global disruption and the unexpected evaporation of job opportunities? How can recruiters and talent acquisition professionals continue to attract and hire the best talent in an environment with less human-to-human interaction?  

The 2020 Job Seeker Nation Report provides timely insights into the realities, challenges, and preferences of today’s workers. 

About the Job Seeker Nation Report 

For the past 10 years (we can’t believe how quickly the time has passed!), Jobvite has surveyed job seekers to learn more about their attitudes, behaviors, and processes related to the job search. The research covers everything from finding jobs and communicating with recruiters to selecting and starting a job. The resulting report provides valuable insights for employers, talent acquisition leaders, and hiring managers. 

Research for the 2020 Job Seeker Nation Report was conducted in February 2020 with a survey of 1,500 adults and job seekers in the US. Following the disruption created by COVID-19, Jobvite conducted a brief supplemental survey of 1,500 job seekers in April 2020. 

These are just few big highlights from this year’s report! 

The Impact of COVID-19 

Not surprisingly, as the COVID-19 crisis continues, survey respondents believe finding a job has become more difficult. Workers also report feelings of insecurity related to their employment. 


Challenge  February %  April % 
Finding a job has become harder this year  48%  74% 
Finding a job is “much harder” than it was six months ago  23%  44% 
Worried about losing a job at some point this year  28%  47% 


Stress levels are also on the rise. One-third (33%) of respondents report a somewhat increased stress level at work, while nearly one-quarter (22%) report a dramatic increase in stress. Among workers with children at home, 62% report elevated stress over the past 60 days. 

PRO TIP! If you know someone looking for a job, direct them to our “Companies Hiring” blog. 

Inside the Mind of Today’s Job Seeker 

 While American workers are largely satisfied with their current jobs (63% in April, 66% in February), about half are open to other job opportunities (48% in April, 51% in February). 

For the second consecutive year, career growth is the most important factor when looking for a new job opportunity. 

  • Career growth:                                   56% 
  • Compensation:                                   54% 
  • Health care/retirement benefits:         49% 
  • Flexible schedule/telecommute:         33% 


However, compensation remains the leading cause for actually leaving a job in the past 12 months (16%). 

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A Look at the Candidate Experience 

An overwhelming 88% of American workers report their most recent candidate experience was mostly positive. The reasons?   

  • 58% had great communication from the employer/recruiter 
  • 49% report an easy job application process 
  • 44% said it was easy to schedule an interview 

So what constitutes “great communication” in today’s recruiting environment? Email is by far the preferred channel for communicating with recruiters (44%), followed by phone calls (25%) and in-person meetings (17%). 

Approximately one-third (38%) have received a text message from a recruiter at some point after applying for a job, and 42% of candidates are open to texting. Social messaging is the least welcome method of recruiter communication — just 25% of respondents are open to communicating with recruiters via this channel. 

PRO TIP! Learn how text and automation can make communication faster and more meaningful. 

Salary, Benefits, and Perks 

The COVID-19 crisis seems to have little impact on respondents’ willingness to negotiate their salary. In April, 61% said they are “very comfortable” or “somewhat comfortable” with salary negotiations, compared with 60% in February. That said, one-third (33%) of job seekers would be willing to accept a salary that is less than their current/most recent salary. 

Health care remains the most important benefit for American workers. Expectations related to benefits and perks have remained largely unchanged throughout the pandemic, although a few experienced notable changes between February and April:  

Most important benefit  February %  April % 
Health care  67%  64% 
401k  44%  49% 
Mental health resources  17%  26% 
Paid family leave  30%  36% 

Other expected benefits include 401k matching (38%), bonuses and stipends (37%), and casual dress code (37%). Among nice-to-have perks, free snacks/meals are the most popular (49%), followed by phone and internet subsidies (35%). 

Almost 70% of job seekers say remote work is “very important” or “somewhat important” when deciding to accept or reject a job offer. Among workers with children at home, 38% consider remote work to be very important. 

PRO TIP! Check out the best practices for working and recruiting remotely.  

Download the Full Report for More  

These are just a few of the key takeaways from the 2020 Job Seeker Nation Report. Download the report today for hundreds of additional statistics, insights, and action items to help talent professionals navigate the current recruitment market, understand the motivations of today’s job seekers, and optimize the hiring process to attract the best candidates for today and tomorrow!