Job applications dropped heading into 2024

Job applications decreased during the last quarter of 2023, yet the volume is still up nearly 30% from the beginning of 2022, according to the December Workforce Report from iCIMS, a talent cloud company.

In addition, job openings and hires have dropped about 10%. Application volume sank 11% month-over-month, reflecting typical end-of-year behavior, according to the report.

“Maybe the biggest surprise is that despite all the worrying and speculation, there are no big surprises,” the report authors wrote. “The labor market remains strong.”

Job seekers are looking for full-time roles, with applications increasing 16% year-over-year, while part-time jobs had small application growth of 1%. At the same time, growth in openings for full-time jobs was small at 1% and fell by 4% for part-time jobs.

The most in-demand jobs emerged from the healthcare sector, with the highest number of openings for registered nurses, health technologists, social and human service assistants and nursing assistants. On the other hand, openings declined for software developers, food preparation workers, retail salespersons and stockers.

While applying for jobs, candidates’ session duration increased more than 10% year-over-year. In addition, candidates who completed an application viewed nine pages of a career site on average.

“Job seekers have become more discriminating about where they submit their applications,” the report authors wrote. “With demand for workers slowing, candidates are doing their due diligence and scouring career sites before hitting ‘apply.’”

In an iCIMS report from September, job applicants said a poor talent acquisition experience could hurt business. More than half said they’d be less likely to be a customer if they had a bad experience applying or interviewing for a role. Job seekers also said they want more touchpoints, more transparency and a shorter application process.

Job seekers remain frustrated about a lack of communication, according to a Human Capital Institute report. About 75% of applicants said they never hear back after applying for a job, and 60% said they don’t hear back after an interview.

Looking ahead, openings that mention artificial intelligence may be a major draw. Job postings that include AI and generative AI have seen a 17% increase in interest during the past two years, according to a Global Talent Trends report.