During the COVID-19 pandemic, CEO Ian Siegel of ZipRecruiter witnessed incredible shifts in the American employment market, both for employers and for job seekers.
In a recent interview with FOX Business, Siegel, who founded the employment marketplace, opened up about remote work, his best advice for job hunters, the recruiting landscape and the overall labor market as the U.S. economy sees solid job growth in 2022.
Employers added 390,000 jobs in May, with openings of roughly 11.4 million jobs at the close of April.
“To put that in perspective, pre-pandemic, we thought we had a hot job market where we had 7 million open jobs,” Siegel said in reference to the April report.
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“Whether it be [the impact of] inflation or whether it be interest rates or the war in Ukraine and how it affects gasoline prices, the jury is out.”
He added, “All I can speak to is what’s actually happening — and what’s actually happening so far is we’re still seeing historic, robust demand from employers for new talent.”
Here are highlights from a recent FOX Business interview with Siegel, whose company is based in Santa Monica, California.
FOX Business: Would you say it’s a job seekers market?
Siegel: This is definitely a job seekers market and job seekers are quitting at record volumes.
Four million currently employed people have been quitting their jobs every month for the last nine months. Pre-COVID, that was more like two-and-a-half million. So, that’s a lot of extra vacated jobs.
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They’re quitting for two reasons: money and time.
So right now, not only are wages going up, but a record number of employers are offering signing bonuses for new employees as an incentive to get them to start [working] at their companies.
“It will be really interesting to watch — as employers are now forcing employees back into offices — to see if this thirst for flexibility abates.”
Siegel (cont’d): Forty percent of people who have changed jobs in the last six months went to a company that offers them more flexibility than the job they previously had.
So this clearly has become a dominant theme in the labor market, and it will be really interesting to watch, as employers across America are now forcing employees back into offices to see if this thirst for flexibility abates — or whether the four million quits a month actually climb.
FOX Business: Does the shift to remote work surprise you?
Siegel: Remote work is now the most searched-for term on ZipRecruiter. Pre-COVID, less than 2% of jobs had the words “remote work” in the job description.
Now, today, it’s 10%. And that’s not telling the full story, because that’s a very simple way of looking at how many jobs are offering the opportunity to be remote.
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The reason why it works as a recruiting technique, by the way, is — according to the research — job seekers who are able to work remotely save 70 minutes a day.
Seventy minutes is the split between commute time and grooming — it’s 70 minutes a day they get back.
“The future of work is now. This is going to be the new norm.”
Siegel (cont’d): And employers who enable remote work are getting 30 more extra minutes a day of work, actual work, out of the employees who work remotely because those employees have all this extra time, and they’re giving some of it back to their employer.
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So, theoretically, everybody’s winning.
“If you were to take a job and post it in 50 major metropolitan markets and the same job — say it can be done remotely — you’ll get 10,000 applicants. No one will ever go through the candidates.”
FOX Business: Do you think that employers should begin to reevaluate the job flexibility they’re offering employees? If they don’t, do you think that that could hurt them in the long run?
Siegel: I think what we’re clearly already seeing is that employers who are willing to recruit nationally who are allowing people to work remotely are advantaged in their recruiting efforts because it’s such a high-demand aspect of work — 62% of job seekers in surveys now are saying they want some form of remote work.
Siegel (cont’d): After money, [remote work is] the second most important thing to those job seekers. And for those jobs that cannot be done remotely, I believe you’re going to see what you’re currently seeing, which is wage growth in order to incentivize people into retail positions and or what are traditionally minimum wage jobs.
You’re seeing some of the most rapid wage increases that you have ever seen, where jobs that historically pay minimum wage are now more commonly paying $17 an hour.
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That trend will likely only continue as the fight for this talent, whether it be to work a cash register to drive a car, is only getting more intense.
FOX Business: The job seeker confidence index from ZipRecruiter reports that 44% of job seekers who hope to find a new role in the next six months already have at least one offer. What do you think of these stats from your company?
Siegel: There’s a record level of employers going first, reaching out to potential candidates and asking them to apply to their jobs.
If you look at people hired in the last six months, 37% of them were recruited to the positions. In 2019, 19% were recruited to their positions.
If your resumé doesn’t look boring, you have selected the wrong resumé template.
So, there’s been a fundamental shift in who has leverage in this current labor market. The job seekers are getting called by recruiters, they’re seeing all the stories about wage growth, they feel incredibly confident that they can find work.
And more important, the tools are better than they have ever been.
FOX Business: With all these new jobs posted, many people may be competing for the same roles. Do you have any tips on how somebody could stand out in this scenario?
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Siegel: Seventy-five percent or more of resumés are going to be read by software before they are read by a human. And that software is going to try and create a simple summary of who you are and sort the best candidates to the top.
So the only goal of your resumé now is to be readable by the robots. You want to use the plainest, most straightforward language you can in your resumé — so that [the] robot knows what it is you can actually do and decide whether or not you match the job description.
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Just keep it simple. Boring. If your resumé doesn’t look boring, you have selected the wrong resumé template.
FOX Business: What’s a clear, simple takeaway for someone who wants to turn to ZipRecruiter for help in finding a job?
Siegel: We’ll curate jobs for you to consider rather than asking you to search.
That’s important because the algorithms are so much better at finding the right jobs for you. They don’t just match keywords from your resumé to keywords in the job description.
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These are the jobs that if you apply to them, you are most likely to hear back from the employer.
And the number-one thing job seekers hate is when they apply to jobs and hear nothing back.
FOX Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.