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iCIMS Insights April Workforce Report: Springing into stability

April 19, 2024
3 min read

The seasons may be changing, but the job market is finally holding steady. 2023 saw many twists and turns in employer and applicant activity. But their behavior in March was relatively even keeled. Our April Workforce report examines this trend and:

    • The steady increase of applicants per opening
    • The rise in retail hiring


March’s surprising stability

The 2023 job market was like a rollercoaster. Job applications, job openings and hires skyrocketed and plummeted throughout the year.

iCIMS platform hiring indicators, April 2024

If last year’s market was the stuff of theme parks and carnivals, this year’s is a peaceful river cruise. In March, job applications and job openings quietly climbed from January 2023 levels by 3% and 2%, respectively. There was slightly more drama where hiring was concerned. Hires fell 7%, but even that change appears mild when compared to the sharp plunges hiring saw last year.


Applicants per opening continues to climb

Applicants per opening grew steadily between March of 2023 and March 2024. This upward trend is likely leaving recruiters busy fielding more and more applications. An influx of applicants may mean more work, but it also means recruiters have more choices. To capitalize on this trend, recruiters need to focus on finding the best candidates, and fast.

Certain industries are seeing bigger growth in applicants per opening (APO). Tech-related jobs, for instance, have seen a 45% increase in APO since March 2023. Manufacturing jobs also saw a solid 31% growth in APO during the same time period.

Applicants per opening by industry, April 2024


Industry spotlight: Retail hiring on the rise

Like many industries, retail endured serious drama in the labor market throughout 2023. The beginning of 2024 offered little respite, as evidenced by a fall in hiring activity in January and February. But hiring inched back to 2023 levels in March, signaling hope and health for the industry.

Retail applicants per opening, April 2024

We dove deep into retail’s job market data in our April Workforce Report. The highlights include:

  • An uptick in hiring: Openings in March remained flat for the second month in a row, but they’re measuring 12% below January 2023 levels. However, retail employers aren’t hesitating to hire, which was up 10% from last month.
  • A plateau in application volume: The start of the year brought a surge in application volume, which then took a dip in February. Application volume remained flat last month, however.
  • A fixation on full-time roles: In March, APO for full-time jobs was almost double that of part-time roles. Full-time roles last month garnered 39 APO — a big uptick from 26 in March 2023.
  • An inflation of time to fill: Recruiters must be busy processing the applicants flooding full-time job openings. Time to fill increased by almost one week year over year in March. It now totals a little over 6 weeks.


Want to learn more valuable talent insights?

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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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