Job Seeker Nation 2010: Jobvite Survey Reveals Two-Thirds of Employed Americans Are Open to a New Job

The majority are “Proactive Career Managers“ continually cultivating opportunities through social networks and referrals

BURLINGAME – November 10, 2010 – Millions of Americans are currently unemployed, but they’re not alone in the hunt for work. A new national survey commissioned by Jobvite found two-thirds of currently employed Americans, roughly 77.5 million people, are either actively seeking a job or open to a new opportunity. An additional 33 million American adults – unemployed job hunters or pending college graduates – are also looking for work for a total of 110.5 million job seekers.

The Jobvite Survey: Job Seeker Nation 2010 uncovered the characteristics of a segment comprising 53% of all working Americans: Proactive Career Managers – those not actively seeking a job, but continuously cultivating relationships and resources to increase their career opportunities. These Proactive Career Managers tend to be younger, more educated and earn higher salaries than other segments of the workforce. They are also more likely to have found their last job through a referral or social network.

The Jobvite survey profiles three categories of workers in the United States:

  • Active Job Seekers have recently looked or are currently hunting for a new job. This includes unemployed job seekers, employed workers actively seeking new jobs, workers hired in the past 12 months (recent hunters), and pending college graduates. Active Job Seekers comprise 14% of the working population and 20% of all American adults (employed and unemployed). Based on 2010 Census Bureau data, this equals roughly 47 million Americans.
  • Stationary Employees are currently employed and not seeking or open to a new job. They represent 33% of the working population and 17% of the American adult population, roughly 40 million Americans.
  • Proactive Career Managers are currently employed and open to a new job but are not actively seeking one. This segment represents 53% of the working population and 27% of all American adults, roughly 63.5 million Americans.

Though Proactive Career Managers make up most of America’s workforce, not much has been known about their collective characteristics until now. In the past, job seekers have been categorized as “active“ or “passive,“ but this new segment is far from passive about building professional networks to surface new career opportunities. The survey revealed this category of worker to be:

  • Young: 73% are ages 18-44, compared to 53% of Stationary Workers and 76% of Active Job Seekers. Highly educated: 52% are college graduates compared to 31% of Active Job Seekers and 44% of Stationary Employees.
  • High-earning: 34% have an annual household income of $75,000+ compared to 19% of Active Job Seekers and 42% of Stationary Employees.
  • Positioning for the next opportunity: 73% engaged in job search activities in the last 12 months compared to 28% of those not open to a new job, the Stationary Employee
  • Social: 77% use Facebook, 36% use Twitter and 34% use LinkedIn.
  • Well connected: 52% have 50+ contacts on Facebook, 18% have 50+ contacts on Twitter and 17% have 50+ contacts on LinkedIn. Stationary Employees and Active Job Seekers have 50+ contacts at similar or lower rates for Facebook and much lower rates for Twitter and LinkedIn. In addition, Proactive Career managers with a college degree or higher have markedly larger social networks than those without a college degree.

“A large group of job seekers believe they have a better chance to land a job if they are connected, proactive and prepared – and rightly so,“ said Dan Finnigan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Jobvite. “These are some of the very qualities employers look for when hiring, and social networks are emerging as the meeting ground for likeminded innovative employers and prospective employees.“

The Jobvite Survey: Job Seeker Nation 2010 found the gold standard of job-hunting – referrals – remains the most common way to secure a new job. However, younger professionals build their networks faster and generate more referrals online as compared to previous generations still using more traditional methods.

  • 44% of all job seekers cited referrals and/or social networks as the source of their most recent job, compared to 32% for job boards (note, respondents could select multiple options).
  • 18% of respondents ages 18-24 and 19% of respondents ages 25-34 used social networks to find their current job, compared to 9% of those 35-44, 4% of those 45-54, and 1% of those 55+.
  • Extrapolated to the national adult population, approximately 14.4 million American job seekers would credit online social networks for their current/most recent job.

While Internet job boards remain a popular resource, Jobvite’s survey found one-third of respondents using them (33%) said they could not find relevant jobs there. Meanwhile, the astronomical growth of social networks has created a new way for companies and candidates to connect online. Nielsen calculates social network traffic grew by 43% from June 2009 to June 2010, and social network activity is now the single largest activity online, dwarfing online games, email and search. And Americans are now turning to their social networks to find jobs.

Of those job seekers that used social networks to find their last job, a higher percentage of them are younger, more educated, high-earning adults than those that found their last job through an Internet job board:

Found Last Job Via Social Network Found Last Job Via Internet Job Board

Age 18-34 73% 53%

Income of $75,000+ 40% 26%

College graduate or higher 46% 41%

“The survey reinforces what we know from our work, today our potential workers are no longer ‘job-seekers’ but consumers – of work itself,“ said Libby Sartain, noted author and former Chief Human Resources Officer of Yahoo! and Southwest Airlines. “They are always open to the next job opportunity, one that’s flexible, recognizes their unique abilities, and is ‘Facebook worthy.’ Now employers must establish a talent brand that’s just as compelling as a consumer brand.“

Libby Sartain shared her insights in a webcast entitled Attracting the New Consumer of Work.

The polling company™, inc./WomanTrend conducted this nationwide online omnibus survey of 2,180 adults (aged 18+) on behalf of Jobvite. Fielded October 19-21, the survey included questions on current employment status and resources used to find job opportunities. Respondents for this survey were selected from an opt-in panel, and had expressed prior consent to participate in online surveys such as this. The demographics of this audience closely match the nationwide population of adults (age 18+) with respect to gender, age, and region, and race and ethnicity.

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For data on how companies are using social networks for hiring, see the Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey 2010.

About Jobvite
Jobvite is the leading recruiting platform for the social web. Today’s fastest-growing companies use applicant trackingrecruiter CRM and social recruiting software solutions from Jobvite to target the right talent and build the best teams. Jobvite is a complete, modular Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform which can optimize the speed, cost-effectiveness and ease of recruiting for any company. For more information, visit