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New Research on State of Hiring: Recruiting Costs, Appeal of Remote Work, Mobile Apply Rates Continue to Soar

Appcast unveils its 2022 "Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Report," revealing proprietary research and critical insights to improve recruiting performance

LEBANON, N.H., Feb. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Appcast, the global leader in programmatic recruitment advertising technology and services, today unveiled the findings of its sixth annual "Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Report." The report examines 2021 job ad data - 165 million job ad clicks and 8 million applies - from nearly 1,200 U.S. employers, uncovering how industry and job function, geography and market, job ad content and timing impact recruitment advertising outcomes. This year's report also explores recruitment marketing performance with attention to labor market data, which Appcast refers to as - "Recruitonomics," in addition to a first-of-its-kind look at cost per hire (CPH) insights.

Cost Per Application Skyrockets

2021 was one of the most challenging years for recruiters in recent history due to a perfect storm of fierce competition for talent paired with a pandemic-induced mismatch in labor supply, and these trends look set to continue. The impact of these dynamics is evident in these sharp spikes to recruitment marketing costs:

  • Cost per application (CPA) rose by 43% in 2021 compared to 2020.

  • Cost per click (CPC) on job applications rose by 54% in 2021, another key indicator of high recruiting costs.

  • By comparison, CPC rose by just 11% in 2020.

Overwhelming demand for workers across all industries left job seekers with a wealth of options, allowing people to be more selective. Additionally, many remained concerned about COVID risks resulting in a slow rebound in worker participation – something the labor market continues to grapple with.

Data Confirms Strong Demand for Remote Work

The report found that including "remote work" or "work from home (WFH)" in job ads resulted in a higher apply rate and lower CPA. Findings showed that the median CPA dropped from $23.29 to $20.16 when the job ad mentioned remote work, a 13% reduction in costs. Furthermore, when WFH options were mentioned in a job ad, the apply rate improved by 12%. These findings reveal a significant opportunity to reach and attract a broader pool of talent and reduce recruitment advertising costs with job roles that can be performed remotely.

Report Includes Initial Cost Per Hire Data

For the first time, this year's benchmark report includes an initial analysis of cost per hire (CPH) data. A key metric for assessing recruitment advertising performance, CPH data empowers organizations to bolster job advertising performance by allowing organizations to optimize results to the event that matters most - a hire. Specifically, the initial CPH data analyzed by Appcast revealed that no single hiring source – i.e., job board, website or social media channel – performed best for open positions across all industries. Instead, Appcast found that each hiring source delivered the lowest CPH for at least one job function, and each demonstrated weaknesses. These variations in the performance of various hiring sources emphasize the need for employers to diversify sources and ensure that down-funnel data is at the heart of recruitment advertising decisions.

Pandemic Proves Significant Influence on Apply Rate by Job Function

Out of 24 job functions analyzed, all but six job functions saw a decline in apply rates. Job functions with the sharpest decline in apply rates aligned with industries where concerns over COVID risks and working conditions had the greatest impact on labor shortages.

  • The food service industry saw the most notable decline in apply rates, down 2.67%.

  • Customer service (down 1.64%), healthcare (down 0.96%) and human resources (down 0.94%) were other industries that experienced the greatest drop in apply rates.

  • Manufacturing jobs fared the best, with apply rates increasing by 3.61%.

"Manufacturing jobs are, on average, good jobs. The typical pay is higher than in many industries, while the education requirement is typically a high school diploma, so there are usually few openings in manufacturing," said Andrew Flowers, labor economist at Appcast. "But the pandemic caused consumer habits to change, especially spending on manufactured goods. As a result, job openings in manufacturing soared. In fact, manufacturing is the industry with the highest increase in job openings compared to Feb. 2020 (pre-pandemic), up more than double."

Mobile Job Applications Continue Upward Trend

According to the report, 67.24% of job applications were completed on mobile devices in 2021, demonstrating a continued shift in job seekers' preferences to apply for jobs in the same manner they would shop online.

  • Mobile apply rates increased across the board, but were especially significant in several sectors: 86.4% of applies for gig-type jobs (i.e. delivery drivers, ride sharing apps, etc) were done on a mobile device. Other top industries for mobile job applications include manufacturing (78.1%), hospitality (76.9%), transportation (76.5%), warehousing and logistics (76.5%) and food service (73.5%).

  • In 2019, only 50.99% of job applications were completed on a mobile device.

  • Mobile applies surpassed desktop applies for the first time in 2020.

  • From 2020 to 2021, there was a 13.8% decrease in desktop apply rates.

While the predominantly desk-driven technology and legal jobs ranked lowest for percentage of mobile applications, these job functions still saw significant increases in mobile applies. For comparison, in 2021, 32.1% of technology job applications were completed on a mobile device, and that same share was only 22% in 2020.

Overcoming Recruitment Challenges

The report also highlights actionable steps talent acquisition teams can take to improve recruitment efforts in a tight labor market.

  • Adopt a mobile-friendly application process; Appcast recommends applying for your open jobs via mobile device yourself, taking into account time to complete and friction points.

  • If remote or work from home is an option with your roles, emphasize this in your job ads.

  • Understand your market. The data in Appcast's report includes benchmarks and insights for specific geographical locations and job functions so you can effectively compete for talent in those domains.

  • Optimize job ad content. The report contains valuable information on improving a job ad's success including length of job title, best practices for including benefits and optimal timing for posting job ads.

"The global pandemic's profound effect on the labor market resonates throughout the data found in this year's benchmark report. It's clear that it has been a rocky period for recruiting and hiring," said Heather Salerno, chief marketing officer at Appcast. "Through this report, we aim to provide hiring organizations with a deeper understanding of the current labor market and arm TA leaders with valuable data and insights to achieve their recruitment goals and rise above this difficult labor market."

To download the 2022 "Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Report," visit

About Appcast
Appcast is the global leader in programmatic recruitment advertising technology and services. With advanced technology, unmatched market data and a team of the industry's best recruitment marketers, Appcast's technology and services manage over half a billion dollars in job advertising annually on behalf of more than 1,500 clients. Headquartered in Lebanon, N.H. with offices in Boston, Mass., New Brunswick, Canada and Minsk, Belarus, Appcast is a subsidiary of StepStone, one of the world's largest job classified businesses. To learn more, visit https://www.appcast.io/ and follow on Twitter @appcast_io.

Media Contact

Audrey Surette, Gabriel Marketing Group (for Appcast), 978-500-4857, audreys@gabrielmarketing.com

SOURCE Appcast