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iCIMS January Workforce Report: Looking back to look ahead

January 18, 2024
4 min read

 

As we settle into a new year, it’s time to look back at the last 12 months of job market activity. iCIMS data shows that last year was a remarkable one — will 2024 continue to defy expectations? Or will employers finally get caught in some of the stormy forecasts?

Our January Workforce Report investigates:

  • 2023 in hiring activity
  • Reigning confidence among workers
  • Motivating factors for job hoppers

 

A year that defied expectations

Employers didn’t have many reasons for optimism as they entered 2023. Headlines forecasted economic turmoil, predicted labor market declines and continually reported news of layoffs. And yet, iCIMS data shows that, overall, the job market chugged along for most of the year.

Application volume, for instance, began on a high in January. Levels remained robust throughout 2023, falling only in Q4, when a dip in applicants is nothing but typical. Even so, employers closed the year with 14% more applicants than in 2022.

iCIMS January Workforce Report: Platform indicators

It follows that applicants per opening (APO) enjoyed a strong year, too. APO took off in 2023 — the number of applicants vying for an open position skyrocketed from 19 to 26.

Employers in the tech industry felt this transformation most intensely. APO for tech jobs grew from 26 in 2022 to 46 in 2023. Meanwhile, employers in the healthcare industry continued to struggle with applicant rates. Their APO levels saw some growth, however, moving from 13 in 2022 to 18 in 2023.

iCIMS January Workforce Report: Applicants per opening by industry

For more insights into how employers dealt with an influx of applicants, download the full January Workforce Report.

 

Good news: Widespread workplace contentment

If a consistent uptick in applications was one of the markers of last year’s job market, employers may be pondering a few actions. One might be making sure their career sites are ready to process and entice those extra applicants.

Another task may be to check in with employee sentiment. Strong applicant numbers means movement among workers, and movement means turnover. Will there be another mass exodus in 2024? Are employees ready to flee?

That doesn’t seem to be the case. According to a December 2023 iCIMS survey, more than half of respondents rated their job satisfaction at an eight or higher, on a scale of 10. This widespread satisfaction corresponds with a general sense of security: 87% of people said they weren’t concerned about getting laid off in 2024.

 

The catch: Workers’ intent to job hop remains high

Despite high levels of satisfaction and security, 51% of workers reported intentions to look for a new job in 2024. When asked why they planned to find a new position, money was the most popular response by far:

  • Salary (52%)
  • Benefits (13%)
  • Location (10%)
  • Lack of opportunities for growth (7%)
  • Concerns about the economy/future (6%)

While a “lack of opportunities for growth” fell low on the list of reasons for a job change, many workers showed significant concern over issues relating to professional growth. Half of workers, for instance, said they will look for a new job if they don’t receive an expected promotion in the next year. And 63% of employees making less than $25,000 said they don’t feel their employers provide them with skills to grow.

Other motivating factors indicated by respondents point to what workers value most in 2024. Forty-four percent of respondents said they would consider finding a new job if their current employer did not demonstrate a commitment to promoting DEI in the workplace. Work arrangements proved to be of importance, too. More than a third of people working in hybrid environments said they may look for a new job if their company announced a return to office full time.

 

Get the full report

Care to learn more about valuable talent insights? Download the full January Workforce Report.

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About the author

Rhea Moss

Rhea Moss is director of customer experience and data insights at iCIMS. She oversees the iCIMS Insights program, which aggregates and anonymizes the billions of data points iCIMS’ software processes per year and transforms them into actionable insights to help drive business and hiring strategies. Previously, Rhea was head of products at prescriptive data, and served as product and program managers at MongoDB and Thomson Reuters.

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