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Employers Increasingly Find Employees Online

Online job search is found to be more effective than personal connections half of the time.

STUDY'S AUTHORS:

Sergey Roshchin, Head of HSE Laboratory for Labour Market Studies (LLMS).
Sergei Solntsev, Deputy Head of LLMS.

The internet has changed how people approach job hunting and recruitment. Employment websites and social networks are now competing with personal connections as the key channel for offering and finding jobs and have replaced most other channels, according to Roshchin, Solntsev and student at the HSE ICEF Dmitry Vasilyev's paper 'The Evolution of Job Hunting and Recruitment in the Internet Age'.

Hunt for Hires

When employers search for hires online, in most cases they are looking for mid-level professionals, followed by candidates for managerial positions (where more careful selection is required) and unskilled workers (who may be less likely to use online job searches).

Private finance and trading companies are more likely than other employers to rely on recruitment and hiring online, while government agencies and companies in sectors such as construction, mining, industry, transport and communications, are less likely than others to do so.

Employers with good financial performance and high pay offers tend to search for employees online more often, while companies paying less than 20,000 rubles per month rarely advertise vacancies online. According to the study’s authors, this counterintuitive finding — since the Internet is a fairly inexpensive way of advertising jobs — suggests that, "Companies may not even consider online search as a way to cut their recruitment costs."

The role of online recruitment increased from 60% of employers using it in 2010 to 76% in 2014, leaving more conventional channels, such as offline employment services, mass media, personal connections, recruiters and educational institutions, far behind. 

Who Looks for Jobs Online

According to the researchers, online job searching can increase the likelihood of finding  employment by 4.5%.

One would assume that highly skilled professionals are more likely than others to go online looking for vacancies, but according to the study, people with medium-level qualifications and the unqualified do so more often to find jobs with manufacturing firms, healthcare providers, social welfare agencies, retail commerce and services, and public utility companies.

The likelihood of someone going online to look for a job increases with their level of education and size of settlement: people who use this type of job search most often include residents of big cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg and regional centres, are aged 16 to 45, and have post secondary school education.

Future Lies with the Web

Today, online job hunting comes second only to the traditional approach of asking family and friends for assistance with employment. However, while the use of personal connections remains at the same level as before, online searching is gaining popularity at an increasing pace: from just 13% of all job seekers looking for employment online in 2006 to almost 50% in 2014.

The researchers predict that in the future, the internet will be used for employment searches even by those who rely on more conventional methods today, including older workers, people with low education, and unskilled workers. More employers, including government and firms offering low wages, are expected to advertise vacancies online.

Even conventional employment searching methods will increasingly involve the internet, including personal connections, which will remain popular, but rely more on social media, email and instant messaging.

* The study is based on two databases:

  • RLMS-HSE, 2006-2014. Sample size: 4,096 observations.
  • ‘Interaction of internal and external labour markets in the Russian economy’, HSE Survey of Russian companies, 2010-2014. Commissioned by the HSE LLMS; conducted annually on a sample of Russian companies in different sectors of economy, with 30 and more employees. Sample size: 7,847 observations.
November 07, 2016