Disconnect Between Job Seekers and Employers Fuels Frustration

Survey of hiring managers and active job seekers compares and contrasts expectations in today’s hiring environment

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The jobs are out there but this disconnect between what employers are seeking and the skill sets of job seekers is fuel for the fire.

Chicago, IL (Vocus) August 11, 2010

TalentDrive, the creator of the leading online resume aggregation search engine, TalentFilter, today released the results from its “Job Market Perceptions” survey. The findings uncover a widening gap between current employers’ expectations and job seekers’ actual skill sets.

For millions of unemployed Americans, looking for a job is their main objective. TalentDrive conducted a survey to get a better understanding of current job seekers’ perceptions of their own skill sets compared to expectations held by hiring managers. Are candidates’ skills and employer requirements aligned? Results uncover key “skill gaps” between the two groups.

The survey started by asking 79,000 job seekers (86 percent considered to be actively seeking employment) to assess their personal skill set and attitude toward the current job market. An overwhelmingly negative response found that 71 percent were pessimistic about their career search, feeling they possessed the required skill set but were not getting hired. 37 percent were extremely frustrated, with no hope for improvement in sight and 34 percent unhappy with the environment, but starting to see signs of improvement.

We turned this question on employers, asking if they had noticed a change in the quality of candidates since the recession’s start. Surprisingly 42 percent of employers indicated that the recession had not only increased the quantity of candidates, but in fact they are finding more qualified candidates than in years past. How then are so many job seekers feeling discouraged? Why if employers are feeling content, actually better than in years past with the candidates they interview, are there so many job seekers out of work?

We considered that possibly these job seekers are simply not getting interviews. Surprisingly, 73 percent of those surveyed have had 5 or more interviews per month since beginning their job search. 75 percent of these job seekers have not received a single job offer. The survey went on to investigate why these candidates were not being offered positions.

Specialized vs. Broad Skill Set
When the hiring managers were asked if their open positions required a “specialized professional” or “broad skill set”, 71 percent reported that more than half of their open positions were “specialized”. Did these job seekers not have the qualifications required? Indeed, 61 percent of respondents consider themselves to be a “professional with a broad skill set”, opposed to specialized in their field.

Within the past two years, many companies have been forced to make heavy cut-backs caused by the recession, rendering many “broad skill-set” professionals unemployed. “Specialized” employees with unique skill sets are harder and more expensive to replace, increasing their value to employers.

This gap points to a disconnect between what employers are looking for and who is applying for open positions. The majority (53 percent) of employers report that less than half of their offers have been turned down, but that 69 percent are management level positions, requiring specialized skills. The picture painted by these results is optimistic for employers, showing increased hiring and quality talent pools, coupled with extremely dissatisfied and discouraged job seekers that have gone on multiple interviews with few results. “Generalists” will need to be nimble, turning unemployment to their advantage through certification, continued education and enhanced skill sets.

Where are Employers Looking?
The second section of the survey drilled down to see how employers were finding candidates. Were candidates putting themselves in the right places for employers to find them and vice versa? Finally, the two groups were in agreement.

Online sources led the pack for both job seekers and employers. 74 percent of job seekers said the most beneficial job search method was posting a resume on job boards followed by 27 percent utilizing social media, surpassing more traditional methods including classified ads, professional recruiters and networking events. 27 percent of employers agree, with the highest response for most effective search method being social networks, followed by resume sourcing technologies.
In summary, the survey found these key take-aways:

  •     71% of employers say that more than half of their open positions are “specialized”
  •     61% of job seekers surveyed consider themselves to have a “broad skill-set” rather than “specialized in their field”
  •     73% of job seekers have had more than 5 interviews per month since starting their job search, with over 75% receiving zero offers
  •     Most effective hiring tool—Social Media sites according to both job seekers and employers
20,000 Hiring Managers from F1000 Companies and 79,000 Job Seekers received the survey. This survey was conducted online between June 15th, 2010 and July 15th, 2010.

“It is apparent that the hiring environment has shifted over the past few years; this report is a testament to the extent of that change. The jobs are out there but this disconnect between what employers are seeking and the skill sets of job seekers is fuel for the fire. The road ahead is still bumpy, but understanding both sides of the story will help job seekers and employers move forward and achieve desired results in the hiring process,” said Sean Bisceglia, CEO TalentDrive.

About TalentDrive:
TalentDrive is the creator of the leading online resume aggregation search engine, TalentFilter. One of the easiest to use sourcing tools on the market, TalentFilter is available exclusively through TalentDrive’s 30 API partners. These partners and access to over 300,000 global users makes us the most widely adopted resume search and candidate marketing API. TalentFilter sweeps and unifies thousands of paid and free resume databases into one location, using sophisticated matching and filtering to rank results. Integrated with more job boards than any other sourcing tool, TalentDrive has been nationally recognized in The Economist, BusinessWeek, CNN Money, CBS Radio, U.S. News and World Report, ERE, and one of ASA’s Top Tools of the Year for 2010. One search, one location, one technology. Thousands of sources. For more information, visit http://www.talentdrive.com.

Media Contact:
Alissa Gothard, TalentDrive, 312.676.4204, alissa(at)talentdrive(dot)com

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