WaveTrackR January data reveals a welcome spike in applications

After months of soaring jobs and low application numbers leading to candidate shortages, 2022 started with a riot of candidate activity.

The WaveTrackR January 2022 Recruitment Trends Report has shown that, while jobs barely rose, applications soared to their highest levels since 2020. They increased by 41% from December and were 36% higher than the 2021 monthly average – a level not reached for the entirety of 2021.  

Job posting and applications per month | January 2022 Report

We often see a rise in applications in the first couple of months of the year as people, refreshed after the Christmas break and having had time to take stock, enter January with a ‘new year, new job’ mentality.

Coming off the back of months of low candidate availability,  the rise in applications is even sweeter. The only months in the past year to even come close to January’s application numbers were October and November and they only received around half of January’s volume.

At 22% over the 2021 monthly average, jobs are higher than in December (though only by 3%) but are at their lowest levels since August. The gap appears to be beginning to close between high jobs and low applications – news that recruiters have wanted to hear for months. It’s an incredibly positive start to the year following months of low candidate availability contributing to labour shortages in a large number of industries. 

Industries with most jobs and applications | January 2022 Report

Of course, each industry has their own battles and triumphs. Some are recovering at a faster rate than others and others positively boomed during the pandemic.

IT & Internet falls into the latter category. It continues to dominate when it comes to volume of job posting and is also still receiving healthy numbers of applications. Education also continues to have healthy jobs and application activity.

Manufacturing has entered into the top 5 industries for job posting for the first time, closing the gap between the relatively high numbers of applications the sector has been experiencing and the jobs available – welcome news for Manufacturing candidates and recruiters.

Meanwhile, applications are still high for Secretarial, PAs & Administration jobs (it received the highest numbers of all industries in January) but jobs have dipped. Unsurprisingly, the sector tops the board for highest number of average applications per job by industry (31).

More positively given the issues it has had with filling vacancies, it is encouraging that Transport & Logistics is in the top five, receiving an average of 26 applications per job.

We’re still seeing high jobs but low applications in Health & Nursing and Public Sector – areas that have long suffered from labour shortages.

Four of the five industries receiving the lowest numbers of average applications are amongst the worst hit by the pandemic and Brexit. Barring Human Resources, all have been experiencing labour shortages brought on by a combination of overseas workers returning to the EU, workers entering another industry when theirs was shut, a fallout from burnout from incredibly tough front-line jobs, and historic skills shortages.

Average application per job board | January 2022 Report

New to the report for 2022 is a section looking at the average applications per job board and it threw up some interesting results, especially for niche job boards.

Secs in the City, a specialist site for business support professionals, supplied an average of 30 applications per job in January, a huge number compared to the average application per job across all industries and all platforms (9). Of course, Secretarial, PAs & Administration did receive the highest percentage of applications by industry and the highest average number of applications per job so a high number was perhaps expected.

Catering & Hospitality, on the other hand, received some of the lowest average applications per job and yet Caterer.com supplied an average of 23 applications per job.

It’s certainly a convincing argument for utilising niche job boards alongside other media, especially when candidate availability is particularly low in the sector you recruit in.

The generic job boards facilitated numbers that roughly match the average across all industries and platforms and are therefore a good choice for steady candidate traffic.   

Other interesting data uncovered by the report concerns the best time to post jobs. WaveTrackR data has shown yet again that the vast majority of applications are coming in on a Monday, yet most jobs are posted on a Friday. That means an entire weekend lies between jobs being published and candidates searching and applying for jobs – an age in the life of a job board.

This has been brought into starker reality by further WaveTrackR findings that most applications are sent within a day of a job being posted. In order to increase the likelihood that candidates will find and therefore apply for your job, it is vital to post when they actively searching – at the beginning of the week, not the end. 

Read more on our January 2022 report

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