Skip to main content

Many top economists warn that the U.S. job market may be losing some steam due to recession fears.

According to online surveys, Americans are applying for fewer jobs, but getting more offers than ever before.

Experts say this dynamic gives candidates more leverage to negotiate higher wages and benefits, and forces employers to quickly snap up the employees or lose them to their competitors.

Workers may not be in a better position to move with the slowing of the labor market expected to continue into next year.

Three offers for a worker in demand

Sinem Buber, Lead Economist at ZipRecruiter, a top job site, said, “The job market right now is so hot.”

Charles Campbell, 26, from Dallas, submitted about 30 applications for customer relations, sales and human resource positions. He received responses from 12-15 employers. Six to seven interviews were conducted and he was offered three jobs.

Campbell, who was previously a city councilman and is now completing his college education online, says that he was surprised by how many callbacks he received. “I received calls back from many places I approached.”

Ironside Human Resources is a recruitment firm that specializes in the health care sector. He accepted a job at Ironside Human Resources as an account executive. He expects to make $80,000 to $120,000 per year in sales commissions and base pay. He turned down sales rep jobs at marketing companies that offered higher base salaries but lower commissions.

Ironside, he said, provided a better career path. He also noted that he could find rural workers to provide health care, and that it gave him the opportunity to help others.

13 applications, 5 job offers

According to Joblist’s March survey of 1,001 job seekers, the majority of those who applied for spring jobs received six to ten rejections in six months. According to Joblist, this means that they reached 13 employers on average and received five offers. This is a remarkable 38% success rate.

Buber believes that this is a little high. However, ZipRecruiter’s most recent survey data still shows workers have an advantage. She says that on average, workers get a job offer for each nine job applications submitted. From 42% in January, 48% received at least one job offer within the last 30 days. Twenty percent received two to three offers, an increase of 19% from the beginning of the year. 5% received four or more offers from 3%.

Buber states that the survey only included current job seekers. This means that those who received offers continued to search for better opportunities. In other words, many job seekers are simply stockpiling offers in order to move on.

She says, “We’re seeing people become pickier.”

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics study, job seekers in 2018 had to submit 21 to 80 applications to have a 31% chance of being offered a job. LiveCareer, an online service that offers job search tools and advice, has found that one in 200 applicants receives a job offer.

It is no secret that the job market has been extremely hot. According to figures from the labor statistics bureau, there were 11.4 millions job openings in April. This is a modest decrease from the record 11.9million in the previous month. Additionally, 4.4 million people left their jobs in April, compared to the record 4.5 million in November.

These numbers do indicate a slowdown. Although initial jobless claims, which are a measure of layoffs, remain low, they have been trending higher in recent months. Employers have also added an average of around 400,000 jobs per month in the last few months, a decrease from 600,000.

Moody’s Analytics projects that monthly payroll growth will slow to around 125,000 by the end of this year.

The latest job offer numbers show that many Americans are attracting interest from employers and landing jobs.

How companies deal with it

27% of those who rejected offers cited salary, 27% an inconvenient place; 11% a job description not matching the actual requirements; 10% remote work desire; and 8% inflexible schedule.

Kim Garstein, a Robert Half branch director in the Los Angeles region, says that flexible work arrangements are a major deal right now. According to the firm, an average candidate weighs between two and three job offers.

Buber states that businesses are being offered multiple offers by candidates, which means they are unable to fill positions as quickly as they used to. This leads to lower economic growth.

Companies are coming up with innovative ways to cope with the crunch.

Brilliant Metrics, a digital marketing company based in Austin, Texas, took a few weeks to process 100-200 job applications and narrow it down to three to four candidates for interviews. It took six weeks to complete the hiring process.

He says that hiring managers interview the candidates they like immediately and then assign them a score based upon past hires.

Robinson states, “We must make this move because if they sit for even a few days, we are guaranteed to be competing with multiple offers.”

Ironside’s CEO Doug Carter says that seven of the 10 employees he hires each two months or less, aren’t there because they accepted another offer. According to Carter, Ironside keeps a list with backups that can quickly replace them.

He says that it is frustrating, but that he has gotten used to it.