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iCIMS October Workforce Report: Taking the market’s pre-holiday pulse

October 30, 2023
3 min read

With Halloween around the corner, employers will soon discover whether the holiday job market offers tricks or treats. Our October Workforce Report covers:

  • Employers’ hiring hiatus
  • Soaring application rates
  • Holiday hiring vital signs


Hiring hiatus: Seasonal slowdown or end-of-year downturn?

Both hires and job openings took a small hit last month, with hiring down 1% and job openings down by 2%. These dips may be due to a seasonal slowdown, with employers acting sluggish after Labor Day. But the changes could spell the beginning of a downturn going into the holidays.

Job openings, applications and hires - iCIMS October Workforce Report 2023

At this time last year, the job market showed similar signs, but employer and applicant activity chugged steadily downhill through the end of 2022. The key difference this year? Applicant volume is up, up, up.


Application volume has doubled

Applications are still pouring in, as they have been for months. Our observations are consistent with those of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which recorded a low unemployment rate of 3.8% last month.

Despite these high application rates, time to fill shrunk to a swift six weeks in September. This tight turnaround time may indicate employers’ preference for speed. It most certainly indicates the hard work of recruiting and HR teams, which have remained nimble and overburdened this year.

Overall time to hire - iCIMS October Workforce Report 2023

While applications are up overall, the market has seen candidates draw back from a few areas and industries. Applications for recruiter roles decreased by 20% since last month. And applications for manufacturing roles sunk by almost 10%.


Taking the pulse of holiday hiring

Employers’ holiday hiring forecast is looking sunny, with applicant volume up in key industries. Since last September, applications are up 21% and 46% in transportation and retail, respectively.

This news may come as a balm to retail employers in particular, who likely remember recent days of hiring hardship. This industry will feel the benefit of nurturing its applicant pool with a candidate experience that’s quick and smart phone-friendly. Whereas mobile and desktop applications make up equal parts of applications among all applicants, mobile applications dominate those in the retail industry.

Applications by device type - iCIMS October Workforce Report 2023


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About the author

Alex Oliver

Alex is well-versed in content and digital marketing. He blends a passion for sharp, persuasive copy with creating intuitive user experiences on the web. A natural storyteller, Alex highlights customer successes and amplifies their best practices.

Alex earned his bachelor’s degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University before pursuing his master’s at Montclair State University. When not at work, Alex enjoys hiking, studying history and homebrewing beer.

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