Survey Shows 42% of Unemployed Jobseekers Taking Longer Than Six Months to Find a Job, Most Feeling Doubtful

A recent survey by Unmudl reveals a stark contrast between the seemingly robust economy and the challenging reality faced by job seekers.

Key Takeaways

A recent survey by Unmudl reveals a stark contrast between the seemingly robust economy and the challenging reality faced by job seekers.

Even amid an economy that appears robust with low unemployment rates and significant payroll additions, many job seekers are facing a daunting and prolonged quest for meaningful employment. 

The disconnect between economic indicators and individual experiences warrants a deeper investigation into the complexities of the job market. Unmudl commissioned a survey to understand this contradiction and shed light on the challenges those searching for work continue to face.

Understanding the Job Market's Dichotomy

While economic indicators suggest robust growth, the reality for many job seekers is starkly different. The reluctance of employers to increase hiring amidst fears of a recession has further exacerbated the situation, creating an environment where employers move slower and more cautiously when hiring. 

Despite the reported addition of millions of new jobs to the payroll, there appears to be a disconnect between the perceived health of the market and the reality of job searching. This situation is further complicated by evolving job market dynamics, such as the demand for new skills and changing work preferences.

Exploring the Current Dynamics of Job Hunting

Here are insights from the Unmudl survey that offer a clearer understanding of the challenges and strategies that define the current state of job seekers.

42% of unemployed jobseekers have been searching for a job for six months or longer

A notable 42% of unemployed individuals in the dataset have been actively seeking employment for six months or more, making this duration more than twice as common as the next highest response. 

Previous research of individuals who started their jobs in the prior 6 months indicated that 85% of them successfully secured a new position within a period of three months or less. Additionally, among those surveyed, only 4% of respondents reported that their job search extended beyond six months.

While those figures addressed the recently hired, and job seeker success is often industry dependent and can vary widely based on a number of factors, Unmudl’s new survey data sheds light on a large segment of the unemployed population that is encountering greater challenges in finding employment. Job seekers should be prepared for a potentially extended job search, as it may take longer than what is commonly suggested by other studies and prevailing beliefs.

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Over half of unemployed jobseekers are doubtful about securing a job in this job market

With it taking so long for unemployed jobseekers to find employment it’s no wonder that the majority of jobseekers feel doubtful about landing a job in the current job market. 53% indicated that they were either doubtful or very doubtful about finding a job while 47% were confident or very confident about landing a job. 

This figure seems to closely align with a 2023 survey which found that 55% of unemployed job seekers were feeling burnout from searching for new jobs. Devoting so much time and energy to a job search can be mentally exhausting and add to a host of health issues experienced by the unemployed.

About 50% of unemployed jobseekers have only submitted up to 10 applications

Almost half of respondents indicated they have submitted zero to ten job applications, while 25% have submitted 11 to 30 applications.

According to a survey conducted in 2023 by staffing agency Insight Global, individuals who had recently become unemployed and were actively seeking full-time employment applied to an average of 30 jobs. However, they reported receiving only an average of four callbacks or responses from prospective employers.

Given the success rates in hearing back from employers, it might be a good idea for a large percentage of job seekers to double or even triple the amount of applications being submitted.

About 30% of unemployed job seekers always customize cover letters or resumes

Nearly 18% indicated that they never customize cover letters or resumes for a job while about 53% occasionally do. Just under 30% indicated that they always customize cover letters or resumes. Opinions among professionals are somewhat mixed on the need for cover letters. 

Striking the right balance between allocating time to apply for a new job and customizing a cover letter that might not prove beneficial to a recruiter can be challenging. However, it might be smart to err on the side of tradition to help you stand out, as some employers will perceive you as more interested in the position when you submit a tailored cover letter. 

Most unemployed job seekers believe a lack of skills is holding them back from meaningful employment

About 57% of respondents stated that they agree that a lack of skills is holding them back from finding meaningful employment. In today’s job market, where landing a position is becoming more challenging, the need for upskilling to become more attractive to employers is paramount.

This reflects widespread recognition among job seekers of the need to enhance their skills to match job market demands. One way of responding to this challenge is by pursuing online courses that directly improve employability. Learning platforms like Unmudl offer a wide range of courses covering multiple industries to help individuals acquire new skills or upgrade their capabilities.

Ultimately, the survey may indicate the transition in 2024 to a job market that is cooling. Jobseekers simply are not feeling the hiring frenzy that was common during the past few years. It's worth paying attention to these figures so that if you do find yourself searching for a job you have realistic expectations about your timeline and how much effort will need to go into your job search.

Survey Methodology

The Unmudl survey was conducted using SurveyMonkey and targeted nearly 500 unemployed job seekers to understand their experiences. It was conducted over a brief period between February 9 and February 11, 2024, to ensure timely insights. 

To maintain statistical validity, the findings come with a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

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