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Brits don’t hear back from more than half the jobs they apply for

Discover the challenges facing British job seekers, with over half receiving no response to their job applications.
  • More than half of Brits have given up on finding a job that’s right for them as the process has been too difficult, demoralising or time-consuming
  • A quarter say their last job search took 6 months or longer – and as time goes on, job hunters lower their standards  
  • Meanwhile, hiring managers say almost a quarter of candidates who apply for a role are a poor match
  • Indeed launches AI-Powered Smart Sourcing to make hiring faster, by matching and connecting people with relevant jobs

British job seekers don’t hear back from more than half (55%) of the jobs they apply for, according to new research.

According to ONS data, there are 916,000 job vacancies in the UK, but with frustrations around the hiring process, these aren’t set to be filled quickly or effectively. The survey of 1,000 working people and 1,000 hiring professionals in the UK shows that the hiring process is inefficient for both job seekers and businesses, delaying the right candidate being matched with the right role.

Not hearing back hurts job seeker confidence 

Silence is harder than rejection for job seekers, as 86% would rather hear back and get a no, rather than not hear anything at all. In fact, 41% saying not hearing back from employers significantly impacts confidence in their job search. Half (52%) also say when they don’t hear back from a job it makes them wonder if they should be searching for new work at all, meaning staff are sticking in roles they are unhappy and less productive in. 

This may be because waiting to hear back from employers takes up significant mental energy, with 3 in 4 (74%) workers saying if they got a response, even to receive a no, they would waste less time thinking about it, while 71% said it would reduce their stress. 

Brits demoralised by job hunt

Not hearing back from employees is only one grievance job seekers have with the hiring process, with 79% saying it’s a job in itself to find roles they want to apply for. In fact, 63% of workers lament that the hiring process in the UK is inefficient and slow. 

As a result, more than half (51%) of Brits have given up on finding a job that’s right for them as the process has been too difficult, demoralising or time-consuming. The top three emotions job seekers feel when job hunting is frustrated (45%), demoralised (27%) and burned out (25%), while only 9% feel empowered to find new work. 

Almost a quarter (23%) of job seekers say their last job search took 6 months or longer. Given the length of time, it’s no surprise that job hunters start to lower their standards, with 27% caring less about the jobs they applied for, and almost a quarter (23%) applying for jobs they knew they weren’t suited for. Meanwhile, 63% apply for multiple jobs because they don’t expect to hear back from employers. 

Job seekers lowering their criteria for a new job is having an impact on businesses, as hiring professionals say that almost a quarter (22%) of candidates who apply for a role are a poor match.

Businesses equally frustrated with hiring process 

The hiring process is no easier for businesses than it is for job hunters, as 61% of hiring professionals say they’ve wasted time with inefficient or lengthy hiring processes. A contributing factor is that almost a third (32%) of candidates they’ve reached out to are unsuitable due to avoidable reasons such as location, qualifications, or lack of interest in new opportunities. 

Speaking at FutureWorks London, Danny Stacy, Head of Talent Intelligence, UK at Indeed, said: “The hiring process is broken for both job seekers and businesses. This is especially true when it comes to finding and sourcing the right people for the right jobs, as our research shows that while hiring managers are receiving an influx of applications that aren’t a match for the role, workers are similarly contacted for positions that simply aren’t right for them. With Indeed’s AI-powered technology, we continue to transform job matching and hiring and make the experience simpler and faster for employers and job seekers.

“Our latest tech innovations not only can instigate quality matches between employers and job seekers but also change real bugbears with the hiring process. Small things, like making responding to applicants a 10-second job, can have a gargantuan effect on what can be a demoralising process for many job seekers. We’re proud that our latest iterations will, yes, impact efficiencies, but also have the capabilities to revolutionise how people feel about the hiring process – and as the number 1 job site in the world we can make meaningful change here.”

Research from Indeed

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