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iCIMS July Workforce Report: Fluctuating Hiring Patterns and Applicant Activity

July 31, 2023
4 min read
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What does applicant volume and hiring activity look like as we settle into the summer? A little like summer weather, too hot for some and for others, juuuust right.  As always, our 2023 Monthly Workforce Report includes the latest job market insights, and this month a special review of retail hiring. Let’s take a closer look.

In June, both iCIMS data and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a hiring slowdown. Yet, for the second consecutive month, there was an increase in application volume. These two findings indicate that the job market has gotten more competitive than we’ve seen in the last few months.

Platform indicators, Jan 2022 to June 2023

“While job applications increased for the second month in a row, hiring actually began to slow again in June. With employers starting to pull back, is the hot labor market finally starting to cool down?” said Rhea Moss, iCIMS Global Head of Workforce and Customer Insights. “And how come job seekers still seem so optimistic? We know unemployment remains incredibly low, so this must be gainfully employed workers still feeling confident looking for their next move.”

Read the full July Workforce Report


Younger workers dominate applicant activity

New census data reveals that the median age in the United States has gotten older – and has risen to 38, compared to 30 in 1980. Despite the aging population, iCIMS platform data shows that most overall applicant activity (59%) comprises workers between 18 and 34.

Applicants by age, Jan 2023 to June 2023

However, the average age of applicants varies across different industries. In the technology sector, individuals within the 18-34 age range make up 67% of applicants. On the other hand, the healthcare industry tends to attract slightly older applicants, with just over half of applicants under 35 years of age. Applicants for retail roles reflect the overall applicant activity.


Retail hiring activity trends

Job opportunities in the retail industry have decreased by 14%, and hires are down by 27% from last year. These findings are particularly notable as we enter the time of year when retailers typically open jobs for the holiday shopping season. Will we see an uptick in hiring soon, or are retailers holding off to gauge market conditions?

Retail platform indicators, June 2022 to June 2023

Additionally, our latest data shows that the time it takes to fill retail job positions is two days quicker than the overall labor market. In June 2022 and June 2023, retail employers averaged 37 days to fill open roles.


Retail job seeker insights

The job market competition is hot as more applicants are battling for fewer roles. The number of applicants per opening (APO) rose a whopping 41% between June 2022 and June 2023.

Where are those candidates looking for jobs? Data shows that most (61%) prefer to use Indeed above other known job boards.

Applicant share among top job boards, June 2022 to June 2023

Because most retail workers are on the go, it’s very common for them to identify jobs, submit applications and communicate with recruiters using their phones. Unsurprisingly, retail applicants prefer the flexibility of mobile applications more than overall applicants. In June 2023, 70% of retail applicants used a mobile device, compared to just over half (53%) of overall applicants.

To capture these job seekers, retail employers need to adapt their recruiting practices by enabling mobile-friendly career sites and applications.


Retail Case Study: Famous Footwear

iCIMS retail customer Caleres, the company behind the Famous Footwear retail brand, knows how challenging it can be to attract top talent in a highly competitive job market.

“As quickly as you’re offering them a job, someone across the street is doing the same thing,” says VP of TA, Rian Schilligo.

To efficiently reach job seekers and stay ahead of the competition, Caleres gave candidates the ability to apply right from their phones and saw applicants per opening increase almost 50% in the first year.


Learn more about the products Caleres uses to create a fast, seamless retail hiring experience.

Read the case study



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About the author

Amy Byrnes

Amy brings a knack for storytelling and strategy to her role at iCIMS. A longtime journalist and marketing consultant, she is on a mission to make her content sparkle with details and clarity.

As an essayist, Amy’s writing has appeared in The Washington Post and Family Circle magazine. When not writing, you can find her going for long hikes in the woods with her goldendoodle, working in her veggie garden or researching her next travel destination – which has included spots like Hong Kong, the Greek islands and Newfoundland.

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