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iCIMS September Workforce Report: The candidate market heats up for a hot new industry

September 29, 2023
4 min read
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As the sun sets on another summer, it’s time to reflect on the season’s hiring trends. Our September Workforce Report looks at:

  • The growing popularity of manufacturing jobs
  • Higher applicant numbers may be due to job hopping
  • The expectations of both internal and external job candidates

Is the manufacturing industry the new tech?

Historically, the manufacturing industry has struggled to attract talent. But this year, applicants per opening (APO) soared by 70%, rising from 24 to 40 APO. This even surpassed the overall labor market, which saw only 26 applications per opening.

Applicants per opening, Jan - August 2023

There seems to be some crossover between the manufacturing and tech industries, however. Over the past few months, tech workers submitted an influx of applications to manufacturing tech positions. Could this be the result of this year’s tech layoffs? Manufacturing tech applications outranked overall manufacturing applications since February 2023.

Manufacturing job openings, applications and hiring activity, Jan - Aug 2023

Jobs in the manufacturing industry also heavily attract Gen Z and Millennial applicants. The majority of applicants in the manufacturing industry fall within the 18-24 age bracket, accounting for 29% of all applicants. This is closely followed by applicants aged 25-34, comprising 27% of the applicant pool. Could these age groups be interested in making changes in their career?

Manufacturing applicants by age

Are employees exploring new opportunities?

This summer, people were busy actively searching for jobs. Applications are up 53%, their highest level since January 2022. Recent job seekers are eager to find employment opportunities and have seemingly not been deterred by the media coverage about recessions, layoffs and inflation. But why the boom in applicants? And where are they coming from?

“With the unemployment rate still so low, these applicants must be gainfully employed workers,” said Rhea Moss, iCIMS Global Head of Workforce and Customer Insights. “In other words, employers, your employees are out there looking for new jobs.”

Job openings, applications and hiring activity

Meanwhile, recruiters faced additional responsibilities due to layoffs and smaller teams. The demand for recruiters remains low, down 37% for hires and 45% for job openings. In comparison, +12% of overall hires have been made since January 2022 and job openings have also increased by 12%.

Job openings, applicants and hiring activity

What do candidates expect from potential employers?

Talent is in demand – and they have the upper hand when selecting their employer. And throughout the candidate journey, job seekers are seeking a consumer-like experience.

A subpar experience will not suffice – and can even alter the candidate’s overall opinion of the brand. Particularly, 56% of respondents would be less likely to be a consumer of a brand if they had a bad experience applying or interviewing for a job.

To ensure candidates have a positive interview and application experience, organizations should prioritize and improve their career site and application process.


Customer spotlight: Wendy’s

The Wendy’s Company’s application chatbot, named “Patty”, makes the application process incredibly seamless and fast – promoting a consumer-like experience. Applicants can fill out their application and schedule an interview in less than two minutes. Besides creating a positive candidate experience, this also getting candidates behind the counter quickly.

There’s room for additional improvement overall, as 62% of organizations have not taken advantage of a chatbot for 24/7 application support.


Customer spotlight: CommonSpirit Health

In a lesson of storytelling, CommonSpirit Health prioritizes its candidate experience. Their career site and job descriptions include videos of employee voices. And adopted texting. As a result, the application process was cut to just 3-5 minutes.


Care to learn more about valuable talent insights?

Download the full September Workforce Report.


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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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