2016 Job Seeker Nation Study


As the economy wavers, job seekers are caught in the middle. In our 7th annual report, we find that job seekers are feeling their way through the thicket. 74% of employees are open to a new job - despite the fact that many of them are satisfied in their current one! They’re concerned in the short term (39% say it’s harder to find a job than the year before), but optimistic (44%) in the long run.

In an election year, understanding the perspective of job seekers is more important than ever, and this report delves deep into their attitudes, and the reality of work today.

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Job Seekers Today Are on the Cusp of Monumental Change

In the midst of a growing gig economy, the threat of job automation, and electoral shifts, 44% of job seekers are optimistic for what’s to come.

Job seekers have mixed feelings about the job market — but most are always open to the prospect of a new job.

  • 74% of employees are open to a new job.
  • 39% report that it is more difficult to find a new job this year than last year, while 19% find it easier.

Social media is a powerful tool in the job search, and Facebook has the upper hand.

  • Social media is pervasive. 67% of social media job seekers use Facebook; only 35% use Twitter.
  • Meanwhile, 59% use social media to research the company culture of organizations they are interested in.

From healthcare to parental leave, we find mixed reports on perks and benefits.

  • Healthcare is the most common perk, with 43% of job seekers reporting that they receive healthcare coverage as part of their job.
  • In our first widespread exploration of parental leave, we found that over half of respondents with children take no parental leave. Of those who did take leave, 87% take less than 12 weeks off.

What’s to come? Gig-type jobs are growing. There’s concern about job automation, but most are hopeful.

  • Almost a fifth of job seekers polled have held a gig-type job — through companies like Airbnb or Uber — and 56% of those respondents report that this has been their main source of income.
  • 55% of job seekers are at least a bit concerned about job obsolescence.
  • Despite these concerns, many job seekers (44%) are optimistic about their job prospects in the long run.

Some Things Never Change

Despite larger trends taking shape, job seekers report similar attitudes toward their jobs, new opportunities, and the job market as a whole year over year.









Overall, 74% of job seekers are satisfied with their jobs. (Especially younger men (85% of them) and married people (80%)).

20% have a neutral attitude toward their job, and only a small percentage (6%) describe themselves as dissatisfied.

Job Hopping

Bouncing between jobs is the new normal. Between 34% and 35% of all job seekers have reported that they change jobs after one to five years in the past three surveys.

As the economy ebbs and flows, so does perspective on how hard the prior year has been for job seekers.








A Job for Life? Depends on Who You Ask

Millennials are more likely to keep their options open, changing jobs more frequently than most.

How often do people change jobs?


Jobvite_Jobseeker_Nation_2016-8Certain groups are more likely to hop around every 1-3 years:

Certain groups are more likely to stay at a job for more than 10 years:

Finding a Job in Today’s World

When searching for the perfect job, referrals and compensation reign supreme.

When looking for new opportunities, this is what job seekers value most:


What makes the biggest impact in your impression of a job?


And to find that perfect job, employee referrals reign supreme. 24% say that employee referrals helped them find their most fulfilling job. However, for women in the middle of their careers, internet job boards are a strong resource, with 20% of women aged 30-39 citing them as the source of their most fulfilling job.

Jobvite_Jobseeker_Nation_2016Social Media’s Place in the Job Search

48% used social in the search for their most recent job.

A window into company culture:

59% used social media to research the company culture of organizations they were interested in.

Different channels are more successful for certain activities than others:

Still, there’s one crucial mismatch — job seekers are on Facebook, while recruiters are on LinkedIn:

  • 67% of those who used social media to find their most recent job used Facebook. Only 35%used Twitter.
  • Meanwhile, Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation survey found that 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn, but only 55% use Facebook.

Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter Nation report revealed that 92% of recruiters are using social media in their outreach. Job seekers are aware, and are becoming more careful about what their profiles reveal:




Mobile is Here to Stay

Job seekers search for new jobs in bed, while dining out, and even at the office.

Using mobile devices in the job search is steadily increasing — across social media channels, the use of mobile for job-seeking activity has only increased recently.

Updating profile with professional information:


Searching for a job:




People who use their phones to look for a job are comfortable doing so anywhere, anytime!



Perks Are More than Just the Snack Cabinet

Healthcare is most common, but still less than half of job seekers report receiving it.

What benefits do employees have?


SPOTLIGHT: 18-29 year olds

  • Less likely to have medical coverage (29%), dental coverage (22%) and 401(k) (21%)
  • More likely to have flexible work hours (28%) and free meals/snacks (35%)


Jobvite_Jobseeker_Nation_2016Balancing Work and Family: the State of Parental Leave

Over half of parents — of both genders — took no time off after having children.

56% of job seekers that have children have never taken parental leave:


However, younger women and men with children are much more likely to have reported taking parental leave than previous generations:


The vast majority (87%) of those who took parental leave took less than 12 weeks off.

  • And over a quarter (26%) took under 2 weeks.

So what’s stopping people from taking parental leave?


Jobvite_Jobseeker_Nation_2016The “Gig Economy” is Gaining Momentum

Almost a fifth of all respondents have held a gig-type job.

Of the 19% who report that they’ve held a gig-type job...Jobvite_Jobseeker_Nation_2016

Age: Thirtysomethings are the most likely to report holding this kind of job (31%). 18-29 year olds are next (25%).

Gender: Men are more likely than women to have held “gig” jobs (22% vs. 13%).

Income: Households with higher total income are more likely to hold a gig type job.




Job Seekers and the Presidential Election

With an election on the horizon, here’s how job seekers are leaning.

As of early February, only three candidates garnered double digit support:


Among women, Hillary Clinton was the top choice (23%), while Donald Trump received the highest vote share among men (26%).

Independent voters tend to prefer Sanders (20%) to Clinton (17%) or Trump (14%).

Jobvite_Jobseeker_Nation_2016Will Robots Take Our Jobs?

39% of job seekers are somewhat or very concerned about job obsolescence.

How concerned are you that your job will be automated, outsourced, or otherwise made obsolete in the next five years?


These groups are more likely to be somewhat or very concerned:





Jobvite_Jobseeker_Nation_2016A Study in Contrasts

Optimistic millennials act their age, men are more boastful, and income and education have a big impact on job-seeking styles.

Age: Boomer (55+) vs. Millennial (18-29)

  • Millennials (56%) are much more optimistic than Boomers (31%) about finding a job that’s right for them
  • Millennials (25%) are four times as likely to have supplemented their income with a ‘gig’ type of job than Boomers (6%).


  • Men were more likely than women to report having inflated their skill set on Facebook (12% for men, 5% for women) and Twitter (19% for men, 8% for women).


Income: Higher-income (over $75K HHI*) —*HHI = Household Income —and lowerincome (under $50K HHI) respondents report very different experiences on the job hunt.

  • Less likely to find it harder to find job in 2016: 33% vs. 42%
  • More likely to find fulfilling jobs on social media: 11% vs. 3%
  • Twice as likely to leave a job for more work-from-home flexibility: 27% vs. 13%

Education: Higher-educated (college degree or more) job seekers have more job prospects, different priorities than their lower-educated (high school graduate or less) counterparts.

  • More likely to find it easier to find a job in the past year: 28% vs. 11%
  • Prioritize the importance of company culture in prospective jobs: 30% vs. 21%
  • More likely to research companies online in the application process: 42% vs. 29%

Are Job Seekers Optimistic or Pessimistic About their Job Prospects?

The job landscape is shifting, but people remain optimistic.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about finding a job that fits your skills/experience and/or pays well in the future?



  • Gender - M: 49% F: 38%
  • Young people aged 18-29 are most optimistic (56%).
  • Of all the regions, Midwesterners are least optimistic (36%).
  • Married people (48%) are more optimistic than single people (41%).
  • People who used social media to find their most recent job are more likely to be optimistic (52%).


  • Gender - M:15% F:15%
  • The 30-39 age group is least pessimistic (9%).
  • Those aged 40-54 and 55+ are most pessimistic (both 21%).


About The Study

On behalf of Jobvite, the polling company, Inc., conducted a nationwide online omnibus survey of 2,305 adults (aged 18+), of whom 1,386 were participants in the U.S. labor force. Participants were screened based on their employment situation and attitude toward future career opportunities. The survey included questions on current employment status and the use of social networks and mobile devices to find job opportunities. The survey was fielded February 5-8, 2016. Respondents for this survey were selected from an opt-in panel, and had expressed prior consent to participate in online surveys. Data was weighted so the demographics of this audience closely match the nationwide population of adults (age 18+) with respect to gender, age, and region.


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