WEDDLE's Annual Source of Employment Survey

This article was originally published here

4/2/2008 4:29:05 PM

Each year, WEDDLE’s analyzes the data supplied by visitors to its Web-site who answer a questionnaire that explores both their online and real world experience in finding a new or better job. We ask them to tell us where they found their last job and expect to find their next one in order to pinpoint which methods of job search work best in today’s economic climate and are likely work best in tomorrow’s. The results of the questionnaire provide what we call our annual Source of Employment Survey.

WEDDLE’s 2008 Source of Employment survey ran from March 2007 to March 2008 and generated responses from over 15,600 individuals. The respondents were 65% male, 35% female; they had a median age of 40-45, and they described their workplace experience level as follows:

  • 19.0% were managers,
  • 16.7% were mid-level professionals,
  • 15.5% were executives,
  • 15.1% were senior-level professionals,
  • 12.3% were entry-level professionals,
  • 11.0% were skilled tradespersons, and
  • 10.4% were administrative persons.

    When asked to describe their employment situation,

  • 25.1% said they were currently employed, but actively looking for another job;
  • 22.6% said they were not currently employed and actively seeking a new job;
  • 20.9% said they were currently employed and thinking about make a job change this year;
  • 15.7% said they were reentering the job market after a prolonged absence (2+ years); and
  • 15.7% said they were employed and not planning to leave their current employer.

    Where Did Survey Respondents Find Their Last Job

    When asked to identify where they found their last job, the respondents listed the following sources as their top ten (not all sources are listed so the percentages will not total to 100%):

  • 13.3% An ad posted on an Internet job board
  • 7.0% A tip from a friend
  • 6.8% Other
  • 6.3% A newspaper ad
  • 6.2% By posting their resume on a job board
  • 6.0% A call from a headhunter
  • 5.8% They were referred by an employee of the company
  • 5.2% They sent a resume to the company
  • 4.9% At a career fair
  • 4.8% By networking at work.

    How do these findings compare to those of a year ago? An ad posted on an Internet job board was the highest ranked source last year, as well, but the percentage of respondents citing this source has almost doubled; it was 7.6% in 2007 compared to 13.3% in 2008. A tip from a friend was the second most cited source in 2007, as it was this year, but the third and fourth most cited sources in 2007—career fairs and a call from a headhunter—both dropped a bit in the rankings. Newspapers, on the other hand, gained a notch ,moving from the fifth most cited source in 2007 to the fourth most cited source in 2008, and the percentage of respondents citing newspapers went up , as well (from 5.7% in 2007 to 6.3% in 2008).

    What else did the survey uncover? Respondents gave a thumbs-down to two sources of employment that have generally been viewed more favorably by job search experts. Just 3.9% of the individuals in the poll said they found their last job:

  • through the publication of their professional association
  • on a social networking site.

    Traditionally, associations have positioned their professional publications as a source of high caliber employment opportunities, and these findings, at least, suggest that those claims may not be completely justified. And, all of the brouhaha of late about the job search power of Facebook, Friendster, Xanga and other social networking sites appears to be more sound than fury, at least if the measure of merit is their ability to connect you with a new employment opportunity.

    Where Will Survey Respondents Look for Their Next Job

    When asked to indicate where they expect to find their next job, the respondents cited the following top five sources (not all sources are listed so the percentages will not total to 100%):

  • 19.0% said an ad posted on an Internet job board
  • 7.9% said posting their resume on a job board
  • 5.8% said sending their resume into the company
  • 5.6% said a call from a headhunter
  • 4.9% said by networking at work.

    The top five sources in 2007 were:

  • An ad posted on an Internet job board (cited by 13.2% of respondents)
  • Posting a resume on a job board
  • Sending a resume into the company
  • A tip from a family member
  • A tip from a friend.

    So, what does all of this mean? First, there is no silver bullet for finding a new or better job. Online resources are clearly effective, but they must be integrated with a range of other approaches to produce a truly effective job search strategy. And second, beware conventional wisdom. Not only do newspapers continue to offer effective connections to employment opportunities–despite much media blather to the contrary–but association publications and social networking sites are much less effective than other job search methods, despite all of the support they have had in the past and present. Anyway, that’s my take.

    Thanks for reading,

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