Amid all the millions of New Year’s resolutions made every January, many people vow to explore new opportunities in their career.
Workers often begin the New Year more motivated to find a new job than they are at any other time of the year, and that optimism is writ large in the search patterns recorded on Indeed. The first days of January often see the biggest surge in the number of jobseeker searches of the year.
However employers and recruiters often turn up late to the party, as their vacancy postings tend not to peak until the very end of the month. The number of job postings does grow, but the increase is gradual compared to the spike in searches.
Armed with this knowledge, recruiters and employers can steal a march on their competition – if they plan ahead and advertise early for the candidates they need.
Why are employers lagging?
Perhaps the real question is why are employers playing the waiting game when workers are already dusting off their CVs and starting their job search right at the start of the month?
The answer may be a mistaken assumption by employers that jobseekers who enquire about vacancies in the first days of the year are ‘window shopping’ rather than serious about finding a new role – and that they will quickly settle back into their existing jobs once their fleeting interest in moving wanes.
Perhaps recruiters are waiting for candidates who they perceive to be more determined, imagining jobseekers who start their search later in the month to be committed to finding a new job rather than just having a vague idea of ‘starting afresh’ for the new year.
However, in reality, the data does not support this scepticism.
Jobseekers do have a head start
One advantage jobseekers have over recruiters is that they can search for a new role whenever they want, and all it takes is opening an internet browser or mobile app.
Our data shows that the spike in searches in January holds true across all sectors, and the keywords jobseekers use in their searches are no different to those used in the rest of the year.
Unlike workers, recruiters need to take a longer run up to posting jobs, as it takes time to approve budgets and prepare job descriptions.
There are many occasions when job postings can be planned in advance of Christmas and the New Year, but concerns that there will be a lull in jobseeker interest over the festive period may deter employers from advertising at the best time.
No doubt when people are cutting into their Christmas turkeys, the idea of work and looking for a new job are far from their minds. But once the roasts are finished and the presents opened, there is often a quiet period in which jobseekers will discuss their career plans with their family and ponder what they would like to do next.
The spike in searches straight after New Year demonstrates that with some careful preparation it is possible for employers to get ahead of the curve and post vacancies safe in the knowledge that a good number of keen candidates will be ready and waiting.
Even between Christmas and New Year there are more than one million searches carried out on Indeed most days — just because it’s the holiday season does not mean employees have taken a holiday from thinking about their work options.
Where possible, recruiters and employers should be resolving their hiring strategies in the weeks before January to ensure posts appear at the time candidates are searching from them.
Those in a position to plan ahead can get a jump start on any competition and steer potential candidates’ eyes to their vacancies long before anyone else.
When 2020 comes around the jobseekers will be out there — they just need the jobs to apply for.