Online Job Hunting: A Pew Internet Project Data Memo
WASHINGTON (July 17, 2002) — Fifty-two million Americans have looked online for information about jobs, and more than 4 million do so on a typical day.
Overall, these figures represent a more than 60% jump in the number of online job hunters from March 2000 when we first asked about the subject. We found then that 32 million had used the Internet to check out jobs. Moreover, there has been about a 33% hike in the daily traffic related to job searching. On a typical day in March 2000, about 3 million Internet users were searching for job information.
These current figures come from a Pew Internet Project survey of 2,259 Internet users that was conducted from March 1 through May 19, 2002. The margin of error is plus or minus two percentage points.
Among those who are the most likely to do online searches for jobs:
Our finding that online job searches have increased clearly reflects two broad trends: First, Internet use is growing, especially for important types of information searches. Second, there has been turmoil and tightening of the job market. As of May 2002, the U.S. Department of Labor reported the current unemployment rate at 5.8%, or 8.4 million people. Since October 2000, 2.8 million more people have become unemployed.
It is not surprising, then, to see that nearly half of all Internet users have looked for information about a job online. Some 47% of all the adult Internet users in the United States have gone online looking for job information.
Our figures suggest, though, that usage of online job resources applies to a much broader audience than just the unemployed. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American changes jobs 10 times and switches careers 3 times over the course of a lifetime. With high job and career turnover, workers are more likely than a generation ago to keep abreast of new employment opportunities.
As a job-finding tool, the Internet offers a wealth of resources, including immediate access to employment listings and resume distribution. One jobs Web site, Monster.com, is the 16th most visited site on the entire Web, according to the Web traffic-measuring firm Jupiter Media Metrix (now called comScore Media Metrix). Monster.com had a database of over 17.5 million resumes and 25 million members in May 2002. The site was visited by 17.9 million job seekers that month, according to Jupiter Media Metrix.
We found in a survey in January 2002 that 8 million Americans who changed jobs in the past two years found the Internet a vital resource in helping them through that transition. One quarter of Internet users who changed jobs in the previous two years said that the Internet played a crucial role in their job search.
Moreover, of the 47 million Internet users who have sought additional career education or training in the past two years, 29% reported that their use of the Internet played an important role in their securing the training. Another 27% who had sought career training and education said that the Internet played a minor role in getting that training. The most likely to cite the importance of the Internet in their getting that training were women and Internet users with several years of online experience.
Other work-related statistics from Pew Internet Project surveys
A longitudinal survey by PIP last year (interviews with the same people conducted at different points in time) showed that Internet users were much more likely in 2001 than a year earlier to use the Web at their jobs and go online for work-related research. More of them logged on from work and they logged on more frequently than in the past. Fully 44% of those who have Internet access at work said their use of the Internet helps them do their jobs better.
That same research showed that Internet access fosters working at home. A notable number of users said their use of the Internet increases the amount of time they spend working at home – 14% said the time working at home has increased because of their Internet use and 5% said the time working at home has decreased. Internet veterans were more likely to say the Internet increases time working at home.
Our special survey in February 2002 of Internet users with broadband connections at home showed that one third of them telecommuted regularly. Significant numbers of home broadband users reported a drop in the amount of time they were spending in their offices and an even greater number said the “always on” connection at home prompted them to do more work at home. Many also reported spending less time in traffic.