The Rise of Mobile Devices in Job Search: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers

June 3, 2019

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People are increasingly using their phones for everyday tasks, including looking for jobs. In this study, the Rise of Mobile Devices in Job Search, we use Glassdoor’s unique data to understand how mobile usage is evolving for job seekers in the U.S. and what challenges job seekers face while using their phones during the job search and application process.

  • Mobile usage by job seekers in the U.S. is already very common. While this trend is not limited to a single segment of the population, there are some clear demographic patterns.
    • 58 percent of Glassdoor users today are looking for jobs on their phones.
    • Mid-career workers—35-44 years old—are the most likely to look for jobs on their mobile phones.
    • Mobile job seekers tend to be women and less-educated workers.
    • While blue-collar job seekers are more likely to use their phones to look for jobs, every occupation, industry and U.S. metro area has a high share of mobile job seekers.
  • The application process is significantly more difficult for mobile job seekers. Mobile job seekers, on average, successfully complete 53 percent fewer applications and take 80 percent longer to complete each application, hindering workers who rely on their phones to search for jobs.
  • Lower-income workers have more difficult job application processes. Lower-income workers complete job applications at lower rates and take longer to complete each application on both mobile and desktop. Employers hiring for low-income jobs often try to filter applicants by asking them to answer many questions or self-report their skills and education. This shifts the time burden of applying to jobs disproportionately onto lower-income workers and those applying to jobs from mobile phones.
  • Applicant pools shrink as job applications take longer to complete. Reducing the time needed to complete an online job application by 10 percent is associated with a 2.3 percent increase in job applications from mobile job seekers and a 1.5 percent increase in applications from desktop job seekers. Employers with difficult mobile job application processes are likely deterring many potential applicants.
  • Mobile-friendly application experiences attract applicants. Promoting a job opening as mobile-friendly can increase the number of job applicants by 11.6 percent at the expense of jobs from other employers that aren’t mobile-friendly. In a tight labor market, having a mobile-friendly job application process can be a powerful way for employers to compete for talent.

In an increasingly tight labor market, employers are competing intensely for limited applicant attention and time. Understanding the populations that feed employers’ applicant pools and further enabling job seekers through user-friendly technology will be critical to attracting the most and best applicants.

To speak with Daniel Zhao about this report, contact pr at Glassdoor dot com. For the latest research, please subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research.