Job Hunters Choose Favorites

Online job seekers may only have one employment site in their bookmark list, according to research from Jupiter Media Metrix. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of the 13.5 million adult visitors to the top 10 standalone career Web sites were exclusive to just one site, while 15 percent used two competing top 10 sites and only seven percent visited three or more.

“While the ratings reveal the importance of searching multiple career sites to widen the pool of prospective job seekers, they also suggest the emergence of two distinct groups of online job seekers: active and passive,” said Stephen Kim, senior vice president of Media Metrix. “A small percentage of visitors to the top career sites appear to be intensive users of multiple sites, while the majority gravitate toward one of the more popular sites and surf it exclusively, albeit more passively.”

The findings, a result of analysis of fourth quarter, 2001 career and employment data from Jupiter’s Audience insite Measures (AiM) database, reveal common trends among online job hunters:

  • While the larger career sites tend to have a higher composition of exclusive users, there is limited cross-visitation especially among the top three domains (Hotjobs, Monster and Jobsonline). Among visitors to, 23 percent visited and only 10 percent visited Among visitors to, 29 percent visited and only 8 percent visited Among visitors to, 27 percent visited and 18 percent visited
  • People who work in the transportation, information systems and consulting industries were over-represented on careers sites; they were 62 percent, 55 percent and 41 percent more likely to visit career sites versus the entire online population. Conversely, people who work in the hospitality, non-profit and publishing industries were under-represented; they were 20 percent, 25 percent and 28 percent less likely than the overall online population to visit a career site.
  • Active job seekers – people who took a new job or left one in the last six months or expect to take a new job or lose one in the next six months – are 13 percent more likely to visit a career site than the overall population. However, the top five career sites are not equal when it comes to attracting these job hunters. Active job seekers are 30 percent more likely than the overall online population to visit, while the same group is only 15 percent and 17 percent more likely to visit and
  • Internet users under 50 years of age are 7 percent more likely to visit career sites than the overall online population, while people over age 50 are 22 percent less likely to visit these sites. College grads are 4 percent more likely to visit career sites, while those failing to attain a high school diploma are 12 percent less likely to visit these sites.

Jupiter’s research only included the top 10 career domains, excluding the career channels within online networks such as AOL, Yahoo and MSN.

Top Career Sites of U.S. Internet Users, Age 18+,
Home and Work Combined
Sites visited U.S. % Audience Reach
Any Job Site 19.3%
Top Ten Sites 18.0%
(now merged with Yahoo)
8.6% 6.7% 3.1% 2.5%
(now merged with
1.5% 1.0%
(now merged with
0.9% 0.9% 0.8% 0.8%
Source: Media Metrix Audience insite

Percent of Site’s Audience that Visited:
No Other Competing
Top 10 Career Site
One Competing
Top 10 Career Site
Two or More Competing
Top 10 Career Site
Rollup of Top 10 Career Sites 76% 16% 7% 67% 17% 16% 58% 26% 16% 42% 30% 28% 44% 18% 38% 25% 20% 54% 19% 28% 54% 43% 14% 42% 48% 29% 23% 18% 47% 35% 8% 30% 61%
Source: Media Metrix Audience insite

Does all the traffic to online job search sites translate into hires? Not according to research from Drake Beam Morin (DBM). A study of 2000 job search trends found that 61 percent of DBM career transition clients found new positions via networking while only 6 percent (up just slightly from 4 percent in 1999) found them via the Internet. Furthermore, a DBM report on executive job searching revealed that only 3 percent of those surveyed found their jobs on the Internet.

Compounding the DBM findings is a 2001 study by CareerXroads of nine big public companies, which together accounted for 62,000 hires. The percentage of hires made through the top four job boards – Monster, Hotjobs, CareerBuilder and HeadHunter – was small with none exceeding 1.4 percent.

CareerXroads attributed the poor showing to a lack of tracking data – some individuals that were hired may have first noticed the position listed on a job board and bypassed it, networking their way into an offer.

Despite low hiring figures, the human resources consulting firm doesn’t dismiss the importance of online job boards. CareerXroads publishes an annual “Best of the Best” that evaluates the top 50 premiere Web sites in the online employment industry.

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