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Recruiting Solutions


The Job-Seeking Status of the Fully-Employed
December 2010
By Lou Adler

Key Survey Findings
1. Only 18% of employed professionals are active candidates, but a further 60% are open to discussing opportunities Only 18% of the fully-employed professional workforce are now actively looking and applying to a company’s job postings. Another 44% are open to considering a new position, but need to be proactively contacted by a recruiter to discuss career opportunities. An additional 16% indicated that while they’re not actively looking, they are reaching out to close associates to see if anything is available. Only 22% of respondents categorized themselves as Super Passive, i.e. not open to learning about new career opportunities. 2. The Early-Bird Sourcing Strategy wins Finding candidates as soon as they enter the job market can improve overall candidate quality. This is referred to as an Early-Bird Sourcing Strategy and requires a combination of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) techniques to be effective. 3. Traditional job postings only expose your opportunities to 23% of the viable candidate pool Even with SEO and SEM techniques, 77% of fully-employed professionals who will consider opportunities – Tiptoers and Explorers – will not be found using the static job board-based sourcing programs still used by many companies today. 4. The active pool skews toward more junior, less tenured professionals The 18% of fully-employed people who are either actively or semiactively looking for a new job tend to be those with less tenure (2-3 years on the job) and at a more junior level (staff and managers) in the organization. This suggests that the active candidate pool is comprised of a higher proportion of less seasoned people who are not likely to stay and grow with the same organization. 5. Your next Director of Operations probably isn’t actively looking By contrast, only 13% of directors and executives indicated they are actively or semi-actively looking for a new position vs. 18% of managers and 20% of individual contributors. An active candidate sourcing program should therefore play a very minor role in recruiting senior management.

Executive Summary
This whitepaper summarizes the results of a survey conducted in September 2010 by the Adler Group and LinkedIn’s Recruitment Insights team. The objective was to better understand the job-seeking behavior of professionals in the U.S., to determine how active they are in seeking new employment and what sources they use to nd opportunities. Over 5,500 people responded, covering the gamut from individual contributors to senior executives. Of these, 4,543 categorized themselves as fully-employed, but not selfemployed. Since this is the group most companies want to target for hiring purposes, we focused on these fully-employed respondents to understand their mood about the economy, their current level of job satisfaction, and the best means to source, recruit and hire them. Our emphasis throughout is on the need for recruiting organizations to better understand when, why and how the best talent looks for new jobs, and the factors that most in uence their nal decision. This understanding will inform how companies go about hiring top talent on a more consistent basis.


What is more interesting is the extent to which neutrality is the order of the day. part-time. even among those not actively looking for a job but open to the right opportunity. Semi-Active: casually looking for a new job 2-3 times per week and beginning to test the market. Based on this. it’s easy to conclude that with only 18% of the fullyemployed professional workforce likely to nd and apply to a company’s job posting. Figure 2 provides an overview of the Early-Bird Sourcing concept. exempt employees). re ects the traditional jump in job satisfaction when rst starting a good job. 66% of the fully-employed are not looking at all. Those who aren’t looking may not be as satis ed as you think It’s no surprise that there’s a strong correlation between job satisfaction and job seeking. only 18% are actively looking for a new job (the Very Active and Semi-Active categories). The remaining third of those not looking are Super Passive and not interested in considering anything at this time. Super Passive: completely happy in their current job and not interested in discussing new career opportunities. Much of the survey analysis is based on these more detailed categorizations. cost per hire and time to ll.543 fully-employed people who participated in the survey. Explorer: not looking for a new job. self-employed. tying this concept with the survey insights will allow you to quickly understand how changes in a company’s sourcing strategy can impact quality of hire. fully-employed or otherwise. These are the Tiptoers.543 Respondents For the purposes of this survey. Very Active Super Passive 22% 8% 10% Semi-Active 16% 44% Tiptoer Explorer Job-seeking Status Category De nitions Very Active: actively looking for a new job and currently sharing their resume. most corporate recruiting departments need to focus on ways to proactively in uence and convert these harder-to reach candidates. It states that among the fully-employed (largely professional. At its core. 2 . etc. sourcing programs should shift away from this active candidate pool. As you’ll discover. as well as provide their titles. functions. The rapid increase and plateauing.6. Some de nitions are in order as we examine the data and the implications.). especially since many companies target the same group of people. (Note: this 18% compares to 24% for all survey respondents. allocating major resources here is likely to be wasted effort. Tiptoer: thinking about changing jobs and have reached out to close associates. but only reaching out to former close associates to do this. This is where the Early-Bird Sourcing Strategy comes into play. and organizational level (from individual contributor to CEO). survey participants had to assign themselves to pre-de ned levels of employment (fully-employed. By itself gure 1 is very revealing. we wanted to effectively compare the differences between active and passive candidates.) Another 16% are thinking about looking for other positions. unemployed. but two-thirds of this passive group – called Explorers – would be open to talking with a recruiter about a potential career opportunity. The Job-Seeking Status of the Fully-Employed The following graph provides a high-level look at the job-seeking behavior of the 4. resulting in the following ve categories featured in gure 1. Figure 1 Job-Seeking Status of Fully-Employed 4. Reviewing the Survey from a Sourcing Strategy Perspective For many organizations. Tracking changes in employee satisfaction could represent a useful means to predict changes in voluntary turnover. as shown by the “High Achiever Pattern” curve. it’s based on how top achievers change their job-hunting status as a function of job satisfaction. but are not actively looking. With 60% of the fully-employed professional workforce either Tiptoers or Explorers. this recommended focus on more ‘passive’ Tiptoers and Explorers will require a signi cant shift in sourcing approach. and a attening if the rate of growth and impact declines. While there might be a few top performers in this 18% Active candidate group. In addition. but would discuss an opportunity with a recruiter if the job appeared meaningful.

Figure 2 Change in Growth. monitoring employee job satisfaction gives a good early indication of an imminent potential surge in turnover at your organization. and Satisfaction Over Time Semi-Active 44% 16% 18% Very Active Hunters & Posters Growth & Impact Explorers Tiptoers Searchers Networkers High Achiever Pattern 22% Diminishing Job Returns Super Passives Time In the early phases of a job – assuming it’s a good one – growth and satisfaction are extremely high. Bing or a job aggregator to nd a position. Networkers.Active Candidates Further De ned Searchers are those who have just entered into an active job-seeking phase. Done properly this will minimize the need to play catch-up and/or pay unnecessary salary premiums. the best of the hunters and posters get picked up very quickly. whose job satisfaction has plateaued to the point where they are more aggressively seeking other employment. In order to develop targeted sourcing programs. For example. During periods of economic growth or recovery. Traditional employee referral programs represent much of this sourcing activity. but the extra time allows for more due diligence and the chance to position your job as a better career move. the point of diminishing returns moves to the right. most people begin to question the quality of their current position in comparison to what else is available. Recall that 60% of the fully-employed professional market – Tiptoers and Explorers – will not be found using the typical posting-based sourcing programs used by most companies today. Finding people rst is a signi cant competitive advantage. They are rewarded by keeping their employees in this Super Passive and highly satis ed state over time. Professionals generally value their existing position more in comparison to what’s available when the economy is suspect. Typically these people will use Google. Caution is urged though. at the outset of their job hunt. Impact. and when it’s strong it moves to the left. the Super Passives are shown on the far left with 22% of the fully-employed categorizing themselves as fully satis ed. the ads that are easiest to nd get selected rst. The far right represents the semi-active and very active candidate pools. you want them to nd your job opportunities before they nd someone else’s by using search engine marketing and search engine optimization techniques. Generally speaking. For survey purposes we created two groups – Very Actives and Semi-Actives. Hunters and Posters are those who spend signi cant time on job boards and company career sites applying to many jobs and posting their resumes in the hope they’re found. This in turn determines the person’s job seeking behavior. and Hunters and Posters – are described to the left of gure 2. As we’ll discuss later. 3 . since the active groups represent only 18% of the fully-employed exempt (professional) job categories. Given that only 22% of the market is Super Passive. If growth doesn’t continue at the same rate. satisfaction typically declines as shown by the attening of the curve. Not only do you have a better chance to hire them. At the point of diminishing job returns. Alternatively. The term “Early-Bird Sourcing” refers to the idea of proactively nding candidates before they enter the job-hunting market. this 60% represents a full 73% of all those who are open to job opportunities. if they have entered. Frequently these are former co-workers and their related referrals. These subgroups – Searchers. these same jobs are less desirable. When the economy is weak. This is why leveraging talent communities in combination with search engine optimization is an important sourcing strategy. as shown on the far left of the graph. Networkers are those who have decided to broaden their reach beyond their immediate circle of close associates. from Explorers through Actives. The graph superimposes the survey data on the basic job-seeking classi cations. Generally speaking. The result: an increase in voluntary turnover. The best companies to work for typically ‘get it right’ in continuing to offer their employees opportunity to grow and increase their impact. each based on the approach they use to nd new positions. we further divide these groups into three sub-groups. and not willing to even discuss career opportunities with a recruiter.

and less likely to raise your organization’s talent bar. As a result. those with less than one year at their company were signi cantly less active than those with more tenure. in the Very Active group. with a job in the hand worth two on the board. 4 . of course. 22% have between 1-2 years with their current employer. The percentages shown re ect the differences in tenure by job-seeking category. The likely reason is that newly hired people are willing to stay with a new job for a minimum period of time. as shown in the shaded areas. Figure 3 Job-seeking Status by Tenure <1 yr 1-2 yrs 3-5 yrs 6-10 yrs >11 yrs 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% 55% 60% 65% 70% 75% 80% 85% 90% 95% 100% Very Active 18% 22% 29% 15% 16% Semi-Active 11% 25% 37% 14% 13% Tiptoer 6% 14% 32% 24% 24% Explorer 10% 14% 28% 21% 27% Super Passive 16% 12% 20% 18% 34% Total 12% 15% 28% 20% 26% From the data it appears that most Actives have between one and ve years of experience. It’s apparent that the active candidate market is comprised of people who have much more turnover than average. but transient. and so on. One can assume that the peak of turnover is in the 2-3 year range. and. Not only is the active pool comparatively small. even if it isn’t the right t. The inference for developing sourcing strategies is not insigni cant. this group only consists of those who categorized themselves as fully-employed and excludes the self-employed.One way to determine if your sourcing programs are working effectively is to start asking candidates how long they’ve been looking for a new position. long before Day 1 for passive candidates. This behavior is exacerbated by the current slow economy. Again. For example. After ve years of employment. Job-seeking Status by Tenure The job-seeking behavior of fully-employed professionals is affected by the employee’s tenure with the organization. Interestingly. Figure 3 compares the individual’s job-seeking status with their current length of employment. 18% have less than one year with their current employer. voluntary turnover tends to drop dramatically. The scarcity of outside opportunities puts a lid on normal job-seeking behavior. over-reliance on active candidates as your primary source of hires will lead you to recruit professional and managerial staff who are less likely to stay with your organization for the long term. The idea is to drive this to as close to Day 1 as possible for active candidates. especially in the current economy.

3% 9. There are certainly more top people in the market today as a result of organizational restructuring and a global repositioning of the workforce. if a company wants to hire some of the best of these senior managers.2% 15. recruiting and screening tactics that are at odds with the objective of hiring top talent for long-term career reasons. The percentages re ect the signi cant differences in job-hunting status by position level. and 20% of staff people. with only 13% of those who classi ed themselves as Directors or more senior executives considering themselves Very Active or Semi-Active in the current job market. directors and senior executives are much less actively looking than the individual contributors and managers in their companies. this is not an unexpected result.9% 42. This compares to 18% of managers who categorize themselves this way. Regardless. in the current economic environment this turnover point needs to be tempered somewhat.1% 22. Since there are fewer senior manager positions currently available.3% Semi-Active 12. especially for critical positions.1% 44. This is the root cause of low job satisfaction and voluntary turnover.8% Tiptoer 46. a strategy built on hiring Tiptoers (those networking with former close associates) and Explorers (those open to discuss career moves with a recruiter) makes most sense. Figure 4 Job-seeking Behavior by Organizational Level Director to CEO Manager Staff Total 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% 5.0% 21.1% 16.0% Super Passive We’ve already addressed the limitations you’ll encounter by focusing your sourcing efforts on active candidates.7% 11. 5 . posting an ad and hoping a strong person nds it is unlikely to result in success.Compounding the problem is that most of the active candidates accepting your offers do so for economic reasons. From an organization level perspective. more creative advertising.5% Explorer 28. Of course.0% 8. For more senior positions. It’s attributed to using sourcing. and intense direct marketing. This type of strategy is even more important for upper level positions. However.5% 43.5% 17.3% 9. with little understanding of the real job requirements. Much of this involves aggressive networking.8% 8. The Impact of Organizational Position on Job-Seeking Status From a long term hiring standpoint.4% Very Active 7.3% 20. nding these people using active candidate sourcing means is likely to be less reliable than a strategy built on hiring top talent using more proactive techniques targeting Tiptoers and Explorers. it’s essential that companies use techniques to target Tiptoers and Explores. To nd and hire more senior level people. as illustrated in gure 4.1% 10. the active candidate market is even less inviting.

This will all be extremely important information in considering how to best position your job. and Neither/Nor. This information was then cross-tabulated with how the respondents categorized themselves from a job-seeking behavior standpoint. Conclusions The high-achiever growth and impact graph presented earlier provides a convenient means to summarize the results of this survey. out-and-out dissatisfaction isn’t a pre-requisite for job-seeking. and make sure your recruiters ask about job satisfaction when talking with candidates.Using Employee Satisfaction as a Predictor of Voluntary Turnover One series of survey questions asked people to evaluate their current level of job satisfaction on a 1-10 scale. As recruiters contact these people. Quite Satis ed. Their answers were grouped into three broad categories – Quite Dissatis ed. Figure 5 Job-seeking Behavior Compared to Satisfaction Level Quite Dissatis ed Neither/Nor Quite Satis ed Very Active 15% 19% 36% 49% Semi-active 65% 16% 16% 67% 17% Tiptoer Explorer 2% 43% 55% Super Passive 0% 11% 89% As expected. First. they need to determine how satis ed they are with their current positions and what it would take to entice them to move. watch carefully for early indicators of declines in job satisfaction for better predicting voluntary turnover. Second. note the number of Explorers who describe their feelings toward their current job as neutral. people are more likely to feel neutral toward their current position. There may not be a large loyalty hurdle to overcome. Key survey ndings have been incorporated in gure 6. but there are a couple of secondary insights worth sharing. there is a clear correlation between current job satisfaction and whether the person is looking or not. The inference is clear: track your current employee satisfaction levels. 6 . it’s more a matter of landing on the right positioning for the role. The results of this analysis are shown below.

525 respondents. For more information.Lateral High Achiever Pattern Diminishing Job Returns Methodology In September 2010 the Adler Group and LinkedIn conducted an online survey among members of the LinkedIn network to better understand their attitudes to job seeking and to their current employment situation. developing critical skill sets in your recruiting organization.linkedin. From a strategy standpoint. This is essential for any organization that needs to hire more talented people for professional and managerial positions. He is the Amazon best-seller author of Hire With Your Head (John Wiley & Sons. and Satisfaction Over Time Sweet Spot for Best Talent 55% 17% 16% 15% Growth & Impact Explorers 44% 16% Tiptoers Semi-Actives 10% Networkers 8% Hunters & Posters Career Move Better Job Good Job Very Active . a training. The survey attracted 5. Results were weighted to represent the actual mix of senior and junior professionals on LinkedIn. even demonstrating the nancial impact of employee satisfaction on ROI. All other brands and names are the property of their respective owners. 22% Super Passives 89% X% Y% % Fully-employed % Quite Satis ed Time The blue circles represent the percent of fully-employed people who categorized themselves into the job-seeking category shown. the number of comparable opportunities available and overall business and economic conditions.Figure 6 Change in Growth. on a pure numbers basis there are far fewer of them than in the 60% (Tiptoers and Explorers) who said that would be open to explore a position if directly contacted by a recruiter or if a former associate led them to a potential opportunity. 2007) and the NightingaleConant audio program Talent Rules! Using Performance-based Hiring to Hire Top Talent (2007). All of this needs to be considered from a company perspective when developing sourcing and recruiting strategies. This requires a signi cant shift in focus. and even selecting the type of technology to use in managing your data. It is clear that the fully-employed. Over two-thirds of the Fortune 100 now use LinkedIn Recruiting Solutions to nd. The LinkedIn website launched in 2003 and is the world’s largest professional network with more than 85 million members. contact and hire great talent for their organizations. this suggests that companies need to do a better job of aligning resources by job seeker segment. It is quite evident that highly satis ed employees are far less likely to voluntarily leave their current positions even if directly contacted by an outside recruiter. Another major conclusion of this survey is that job satisfaction is worth exploring in conversations with candidates.543). LinkedIn. The objective of this whitepaper was to provide recruiting leaders and company executives a better means to understand the market for top talent. This suggests that in the current environment it’s not job dissatisfaction that is driving the fully-employed professional worker to seek alternative employment. The evidence also shows that those who have more tenure or play a more senior role at their company are even less likely to be actively looking. the LinkedIn logo. 3rd Edition. as well as worth monitoring more proactively at your organization as a means to predict and stem voluntary Gallup and others have demonstrated this point in numerous studies. primarily increasing emphasis on the Tiptoer and Explorer jobseeking categories. All rights reserved.adlerconcepts. About the author Lou Adler is the CEO and founder of The Adler Group (www. professional worker has a different approach to looking for work and comparing job opportunities.543 categorized themselves as fully-employed (as opposed to selfemployed. The survey sample was balanced for active and less active LinkedIn members to be representative of LinkedIn’s overall membership. Networkers and Hunters and Posters were put into the Very Active Group. While there are some top people in this active group. The overarching conclusion of this study is that only 18% of the fullyemployed professional workforce in North America would categorize themselves as actively looking for a new position. implementing interviewing and screening tools. of whom 4. This is ultimately driven by personal job satisfaction. Copyright © 2010 LinkedIn Corporation. About LinkedIn LinkedIn is an Internet platform company focused on connecting the world’s professionals. go to http://talent. consulting and search rm helping companies implement Performance-based HiringSM. and InMail are registered trademarks of LinkedIn Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The data summarized in this report covers the responses of only those people who categorized themselves as fully-employed (4. The green boxes represent the percent of people in each job-seeking group who categorized themselves as Quite Satis ed with their current positions. representing every country and executives from every Fortune 500 company. 07-LCS-WP-003 12/10 7 . part-time or unemployed). For purposes of this whitepaper.