Job Viewing Returns to Pre-COVID-19 Rates, But Varies By Industry

June 15, 2020

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Job posting and job viewing both declined sharply at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. While job posting and hiring rates haven’t recovered, new LinkedIn data shows job seeking surging back to pre-pandemic levels — by mid-May, job views were only 4% lower than they were back in January.  

With millions out of work and fewer openings to go around, the number of views on the average LinkedIn job post (views-per-job) has almost doubled since late March. 

That trend holds true in general, but not across every industry. Sectors like education, hardware, and wellness are seeing considerable spikes in views-per-job. But the travel and healthcare industries are both seeing marked drops in views-per-job — though each decline is happening for very different reasons. 

Read on to learn more about which industries are seeing the biggest upticks and downturns in views-per-job, along with ways to rethink your hiring when you’re getting more (or fewer) candidates. 

Industries with the biggest spikes in views-per-job post have fewer jobs to go around

The average job post is getting more views. That’s mainly because there are fewer job posts right now — particularly in the industries where the number of views-per-job is growing the fastest.

This indicates that candidates are still quite interested in these jobs — but with fewer opportunities available, candidates now face more competition from each other over the remaining jobs. 

Education has seen the largest spike in views-per-job since the beginning of the year. That may be due to the fact that educators are facing steep layoffs, with hundreds of thousands of teaching jobs lost in the U.S. alone. 

Industries like corporate services and software may be seeing more job views because their roles can be more easily adapted to remote work. In LinkedIn’s recent Workforce Confidence survey, an overwhelming 85% of software employees in the U.S. say they can effectively work remotely, more than in any other industry. 

Something slightly different is happening in the entertainment and legal industries, though. The relative number of job views in entertainment and legal have actually gone down. Views-per-job are still increasing, but only because there’s been such a dropoff in the number of jobs posted. 

In other words, there are fewer opportunities and less interest from candidates, likely due to COVID-19 restrictions. “Arts and entertainment professionals may likely be some of the last workers able to return safely to their jobs,” said the AFL-CIO treasurer-secretary at a recent press conference. 

So if you’re recruiting for a job industry that’s been heavily restricted by COVID-19, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll struggle to find candidates. It could actually be easier to find talent if you’re one of the few companies hiring in your industry. 

What to consider when you’re getting more candidates 

Getting twice as many applicants allows you to tap into a more diverse talent pool, especially if you’re hiring for remote positions

Consider how you can optimize your candidate screening process to handle the new volume of applicants in a fair, inclusive way. For example, instead of thinking about “culture fit,” look for “culture adds.”

And while more candidates is usually a win, be careful not to let your candidate experience suffer during the pandemic. “After each big recession, when we have more candidates than jobs, organizations tend to treat candidates poorly,” warns Tim Sackett, recruiting executive and HR thought leader. 

The emphasis on candidate experience over the past few years came out of the poor experiences many faced after the 2008 recession, says Tim. As we enter what could be another sustained economic downturn, it’s important to keep the lessons learned from the last one. 

The industries getting fewer views-per-job have more opportunities

When there are fewer opportunities but the same number of candidates, the views-per-job go up. The opposite is also true: when an industry has more jobs and the same amount of candidates, you’ll get fewer views on each post.

That’s exactly what’s happening in industries like healthcare, public safety, and public administration. In healthcare, for example, there’s been a surge in open jobs — especially for frontline clinicians — but the supply of available talent hasn’t caught up. 

Exacerbating this mismatch is the fact that healthcare tends to be a more self-contained industry: almost half of people looking at healthcare jobs are already in the industry, a much higher proportion than in almost any other industry. Since people from other industries don’t commonly move into healthcare, it’s harder for healthcare companies to quickly scale up their workforces. 

The opposite is happening in recreation/travel and retail. Job posts are decreasing, but candidate views are declining even faster. This could indicate that candidates are more reluctant to consider these jobs during the pandemic; employers in these industries may need to increase compensation, benefits, and worker protections in order to attract more candidates. 

What to consider when you’re getting fewer candidates 

While hiring workers with non-traditional backgrounds is important for any employer, it’s a critical strategy for companies receiving fewer candidates per job. Don’t overlook the upside these workers offer. 

Though a drop in candidates is likely due to larger macroeconomic forces, improving your employer brand can still make a difference. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the companies seeing the most engagement are those that match uplifting messages with real action. 

Even if you’re not hiring right now, being vocal about how you’re helping your community and caring for employees can make it easier to nurture and attract candidates when the time is right. 

Methodology

For this article, we collected every paid, premium job posting between January 1 and April 30 - over 20,000,000 unique postings in all. We then examined all views that occurred from verified members while the job posting was open. Finally, we applied our taxonomy for classifying companies by industries.

Note: In April 2020, LinkedIn began offering free premium job posts for healthcare organizations and other essential services, which may have increased job posts and views for those industries.

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